Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

I watch movies to be entertained. To smile and laugh and cheer at happy endings. I don’t watch movies to be disturbed…until now.

And I’m about to encourage you to watch a movie that will disturb you greatly.

Unless you’ve recently returned from a lengthy stay on an isolated desert island, by now you’ve heard of the movie, Unplanned. Reactions have generally been along expected lines. Most Christians support it and the secular culture abhors it.

Despite an initial limited run (1000 theaters nationwide), the movie came in at #4 in box office receipts for its opening weekend. That’s despite a virtual media blackout and proactive actions by social media gatekeepers to squelch any word of support. Twitter inactivated the official movie account. Television stations are refusing to sell advertising slots.

But the reaction that concerns me most is the one from pro-life Christians who say, “I’m already pro-life, so I don’t need to see it.” Or, “I won’t see the movie because the R rating proves it’s too upsetting.” Or, “I don’t get to the movies much. I’ll wait until the DVD is released.”

This is my response especially for Christians who don’t plan to see Unplanned.

Yes, this movie is rated R for several emotional scenes. But unlike the gore of fantasy movies, this is real. And I find it especially difficult to understand why a teen girl must be protected from seeing the reality of abortion via the R rating when they are legally able to have an abortion performed on them without their parents’ consent. Thousands upon thousands of young girls are marching blindly into Planned Parenthood to subject themselves to this very act of violence. They walk out more broken than they could ever imagine. Oh. My. Aching. Heart!

Let me get this straight: they can do it, but they shouldn’t see it?

This is, indeed, a disturbing movie. But that’s why every Christian needs to see it. Many will not, yet I believe that’s exactly what Satan wants: for us to stay sheltered in our protected Christian bubbles. He couldn’t stop the movie from being made, so he’ll do all he can to stop Christians from wanting to see it.

Too many Christians say they are pro-life, but the reality is many of us don’t really understand the horror of abortion. If we stay in our sheltered worlds, we won’t be as passionately heartbroken about the horror of abortion as we should be. And the enemy will continue winning the hearts and minds of this nation.

Unplanned depicts the level of lies and evil the enemy is wielding in our culture—the very thing Satan does not want us to know.

Sadly, many Christians will not see this movie because they don’t want to come face to face with just how horrible abortion is. Of course, we don’t want to know. Who in their right mind would ever want those images seared into their memory?

Still, how can we take an effective stand unless we know what we are really standing for?

If every Christian truly understood this, organizations and ministries such as Care Net and other crisis pregnancy centers would never lack for volunteers, financial support, and prayer warriors. Support they require to provide services to women and families who desperately need to know about available alternatives.

And these are not just women outside the church. According to a 2015 study, “more than four in 10 women who have had an abortion were churchgoers when they ended the pregnancy.”

Seeing Unplanned may not be a movie Christians want to see. But it is a movie we need to see. And it’s a movie pro-choice supporters need to see, as well. Do we all have the courage of our convictions to watch the unpleasant even when it makes us uncomfortable?

See Unplanned. Better yet, take as many people as possible with you. Do it for yourself. Do it for the girls and women who will have abortions without understanding the long-term consequences. Do it for the myriad unborn children awaiting an advocate who will speak up on their behalf.

Do it because it’s the right thing to do.

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  1. Pam

    Your words are right on as usual Ava. Too many of the woman think it’s what they need to do. Their parents wouldn’t understand. Far too many are being advised by people that are not wise. As hard as it was to see I’m glad we went.

  2. Jane Oliver

    Yes, Ava!!! Care Net would never lack support if everyone saw this movie!!!!

  3. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Pam and Jane!

  4. Pam Durham

    You are right on track, Ava. It was not easy to see, but so necessary. So many lack understanding of what drives a woman to have an abortion and why she responds the way she does. If we could get the church to wake up and rise up, abortion would decline and abortion recovery would soar.

  5. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Pam. And thank you for all you do to help women heal through the C.A.R.E. ministry of Care Net!

  6. Yvonne Morgan

    I agree with you Ava. I hope most Christians go see the movie to understand the issues.

  7. Stephen De La Vega

    Thank you for this charge, Ava. I’ve been disheartened over and over about the lack of care for mothers and unborn children by legislators, doctors, ‘non-profit’ organizations, government agencies, and parents themselves. We need more truth about this in our culture.

  8. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Yvonne and Stephen.

  9. Melissa McLaughlin

    I really appreciate this information, as we didn’t get a chance to see the movie yet, but plan to do so. May the message move the hearts of many!

  10. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Melissa.

  11. Stpehen Lewis

    Straight too the point as always Sister… hanks for a stand and letting us know the truth!

  12. Ava Pennington

    Thank you, Stephen.

  13. Melinda Viergever Inman

    Ava, I hope many people see this movie, but I won’t be one of them. I was a pregnant teen in the 1970s, soon after Roe v Wade became law. Practically every adult in my life pressured me to abort my baby. I did not. I loved my baby. God held me up. I stood alone against the adult world.

    Almost every friend I knew at the time who became pregnant aborted. They did this, they heard the sounds and experienced the pain, and many have never recovered. I lived through the horrors of this reality with them and the rejection I faced from the wider world for refusing: standing alone, being called names because I wouldn’t abort, losing parental support, my scholarship, and my college education. Once Roe became law, support for pregnant teens dwindled.

    In the 1980s, I watched the Silent Scream when it released. It showed this same procedure. I worked in pro-life clinics talking women out of aborting and helping them through their pregnancies. Everything within me recoils at subjecting myself to reentering this past trauma. The emotion of watching that experience would undo me.

    Some of us can’t go, because of the trauma of what we’ve already lived through. We weren’t in a bubble. For those who have been in a bubble, I urge you to go. It’s as horrific as it’s pictured.

  14. Ava Pennington

    Oh, Melinda, how my heart aches for the pain you’ve been through. And you’re so right – there’s a huge difference between a Christian living in a “bubble” and someone who has lived through the trauma of abortion or walked through it with someone who has.
    Thank you for taking the time to remind me – and us – of this difference, and for encouraging those of us who have been in our bubbles to have the courage to step out.

  15. Candice Brown

    I am still addressing the profound impact this movie made on me when I saw it last Sunday. Some of my most precious days I spent were those counseling young women at a crisis pregnancy center. While I have remained dedicated to my pro life ideals, I believe God is calling me to be more active in the movement. To be continued… Thank you for promoting this movie, Ava!

  16. Jessica Brodie

    I definitely feel I need to see it. I’m scared of what I’ll see, but I know my heart needs to be fully broken when it comes to this issue so I can be a better advocate.

  17. Mickey Wich

    As the mother of a son who I gave birth to and gave up for adoption when I was 17 I can relate to this subject. I dont have to feel the grief of killing my child. Since then I have had family members and friends who have had abortions. The pain is non ending. I cannot speak out on the subject because of them. I pray to my Heavenly Father for comfort for those who have gone through an abortion and I pray that if I ever meet anyone considering it, I will discourage it!

  18. Ava Pennington

    Mickey, I pray your loved ones who have had abortions will seek help. Crisis pregnancy centers, including our local Care Net, offer Bible study support groups for post-abortive women to assist in the healing process. Please encourage them to find the hope and healing they need, regardless of how long ago their abortion occurred!

  19. Beth Bingaman

    I am just not sure I “need” to see it any more than I need to see someone get shot to understand it is murder. The pictures and descriptions I have seen and heard are graphic enough. I guess I will have to pray about it as many are saying this is so important to see.

  20. Ava Pennington

    Beth, I do understand your point. Still, this movie continues to energize many Christians as to the need for ministries such as crisis pregnancy centers to communicate and offer alternatives for women and families who may not be aware they have “choices” other than the one our culture espouses.

  21. Melissa Henderson

    I have not seen this movie yet. I am hearing lots of opinions. Thank you for sharing the information.

  22. Ava Pennington

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, Melissa!

  23. Julie Loos

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, either! I’m piqued to go though..
    It reminds me a lot of why Christian friends wouldn’t go see “The Passion!”
    “It would upset me, I dislike the violence”
    Isn’t that the point?
    We need movies to make us more passionate and zealous to proclaim Christ!

  24. Evie Boyle

    I saw the movie and I totally agree!
    Movie that was not entertaining, but so much education for all! Heart wrenching!!!
    God’s got this and we know the winner!! Evil will fall!! I pray soon!!!

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