Despite unplanned difficulties and possible censorship throughout its opening weekend, a true story of Planned Parenthood’s youngest clinic director turned pro-life activist has doubled its projected box-office earnings, ranking 4th in a line-up that included the behemoths, Dumbo, Us, and Captain Marvel. Filmed in secret to avoid generating blowback, and opening in only 1,059 theaters, the movie Unplanned struggled to make itself known when its commercials were rejected by major television channels such as Lifetime, the Hallmark Channel, and HGTV as well as many Christian radio stations. Furthermore, the movie’s Twitter account was temporarily suspended on Saturday during its opening weekend. The next day, the account mysteriously lost most of its followers, plummeting from 100,000 followers to 151 in a matter of hours. Users who subscribed were automatically made to unfollow when they refreshed their feed.
Even while the movie Unplanned faced struggles eerily similar to the censorship of other Christian and conservative groups, Hollywood overtly sought to censor Georgia’s “heartbeat bill,” with “film and crew members [sending] letters to production companies HBO, Sony, Disney, Universal, Marvel and Netflix, urging them to publicly oppose the bill.” Officially known as HB 481, it would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. In an opinion editorial for Deadline, actress and political activist Alyssa Milano called it a “forced pregnancy bill”, making it “the most anti-woman bill of its kind in the country”. After recounting in her editorial how Hollywood successfully compelled Georgia to repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2016—something she said “was essentially a license to discriminate against the state’s LGBTQ+ community”—Milano sent Georgia’s House Speaker and governor a letter signed by 50 actors threatening the state with another Hollywood boycott if it signs HB 481 into law. Likewise, the east and west chapters of the Writers Guild of America issued a joint statement threatening a boycott of the state if it passes this “draconian anti-choice law”.
Dubbed the Hollywood of the South, Georgia’s “motion picture and television industry is responsible for more than 92,100 jobs” resulting in $9.5 billion in total economic impact last year. Among Georgia’s 455 productions are such blockbusters as The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and The Hunger Games. As such, Hollywood’s threatened boycott could have serious economic ramifications.
Oddly enough, Alyssa Milano argues on behalf of Hollywood that by limiting abortions, Georgia is being disrespectful, intolerant, and unloving. Clearly, she does not have the baby in mind. In fact, Hollywood has attributed an R-rating to the movie Unplanned because of “some disturbing/bloody images” of aborted babies. According to The Daily Caller, “Movies are rated R for profanity, nudity, sex or violence. ‘Unplanned’ contains no profanity, nudity or sex. ‘Ironically, the MPAA seems to be indirectly endorsing the pro-life position: namely that abortion is an act of violence’”.
Indeed, abortion is an act of violence against our nation’s most helpless. It is the shedding of innocent blood. Since the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973, an estimated 60+ million babies have been murdered in America … mostly upon the altar of convenience. There is nothing respectful, tolerant, or loving about abortion. It is a savage destruction of human life.
Make no mistake about it; in God’s mind, an unborn baby is a person (Psa. 139:13–16; Isa. 44:24). God speaks of having set Jeremiah apart to serve as a prophet to the nations even before he was born (Jer. 1:5). Likewise, the Apostle Paul was set apart by God before birth (Gal. 1:15). And John the Baptist was indwelt by the Holy Spirit and experienced the emotion of joy while still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:41, 44). Therefore, the abortion of unborn babies is murder. It is the shedding of innocent blood—something that God hates (Prov. 6:16–17)—and it is something for which God judges nations (Jer. 19:3–6). Moreover, the Bible frequently speaks about how the shedding of innocent blood makes a nation guilty in God’s sight and pollutes the land until the guilt of that murder is purged from the land (Deut. 19:10; Psa. 106:37–38).
We can only wonder what level of guilt our nation bears in God’s eyes for the murder of 60+ million of our nation’s most innocent and helpless. This guilt must be purged from our land (Deut. 19:13; 21:8–9). If we fail to do this ourselves, then God will eventually do it Himself. But how is it possible to cleanse our nation from the stain of 60+ million abortions?
The answer is profoundly simple. God calls us to do what is right. Deuteronomy 21:9 teaches, “So you shall remove the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the eyes of the LORD” (NASB). Incredibly, our God is willing even to forgive the heinous violence of killing tens of millions of unborn children if a nation will repent of its evil and do what God has commanded.
This reveals the heart of our God. He is not looking for an excuse to judge. Instead, He is looking for obedience. His heart is that people come to Him in obedient faith, renouncing their evil deeds. When a nation does this, it is sanctified, and it becomes the recipient of divine mercy. Jeremiah 18:7–8 promises, “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.” Likewise, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “[I]f my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Despite these promises, it seems God’s people in America have been quick to write-off America as a lost cause, believing its blood-guilt to be too great for God’s forgiveness. Perhaps this is why God’s people have been notably absent in our national debate over abortion these past few years which have included the #ShoutYourAbortion movement, near panic that the new Supreme Court appointments will result in the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the New York legislature’s standing ovation celebrating radical expansions to state abortion laws, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s post-birth abortion comments, and the U.S. Senate’s failure to pass a bill requiring health care providers offer medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion.
Increasingly, the American public is identifying as pro-life, with Americans now evenly divided on the matter. Moreover, we have the most pro-life president in history, several aggressively pro-life governors, no longer any Republican Representatives who support abortion, and only two Republican Senators. Why then is the movie Unplanned one of precious few meaningful Christian responses to this re-invigorated national conversation regarding abortion? It is time we made our voices heard. Perhaps a simple first step is just to support the movie Unplanned while it is in theaters and to encourage our friends and family to go watch it. And a next step might be to write our Congressmen urging them to support Representative Steve Scalise’s (R-LA) discharge petition on Representative Ann Wagner’s (R-MO) Born-Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act which would require doctors to provide medical care to a child born alive after a failed abortion. The discharge petition is an effort to force a vote despite this anti-infanticide bill having been blocked on the House floor 25 times by the majority party.
Whatever we do, we cannot remain silent. If God’s people remain silent, then eventually God Himself will be compelled to intervene. While time remains, we ought to be doing everything we can to absolve our nation from its blood-guilt by changing people’s thinking and turning their hearts back to God.
**Update: The original story reported Unplanned as ranking 5th according to its opening box office earnings.
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35. Desanctis, Alexandra. “Rep. Scalise Files Petition to Bring Born-Alive Bill to House Floor.” National Review, April 2, 2019. Accessed April 2, 2019. https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/rep-scalise-files-petition-to-bring-born-alive-bill-to-house-floor/.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.