Ever since the days of Roe v Wade, the red tide of deaths of unborn children by abortion has grown astronomically. In the years 2010-2014 alone, over 56 million children were killed each year by abortions worldwide (Guttmacher Institute, March 2018). However, by God’s providence, there have been several key developments in the fight for life in the United States both in the media and in state legislature.
Starting initially as a volunteer in 2001, Abby Johnson became the youngest director of a Planned Parenthood clinic and was later named ‘Employee of the Year’ (2008) for her pro-choice activism and her clinic’s ‘prestigious’ record of being the most productive in the region (Bryan, Texas). Her experience with having two abortions made her a stalwart for the pro-choice cause.
However, her life took a 180 degree turn when she witnessed a sonogram-assisted abortion as a baby fought for its life against a suction tube. Horrified by this act, Abby resigned and became a staunch pro-life activist and wrote a memoir (titled Unplanned) about what she had seen.
In March of this year, Pure Flix released a brutally honest film based on her book and her experience. It was written and directed by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman and caused no little stir in the media. Despite major media corporations refusing to endorse the film, the film grossed $16.9 million in the box office.
Since its debut, 94 abortion clinic workers are seeking to change their occupation after having seen the film. In an interview for the Christian Post, Chuck Konzelman stated, ‘One percent of the abortion workers in the United States, after getting one look at them being portrayed on film …have decided to change their lives …and what they do for a living,’ (Christian Post, April 12, 2019).
The Christian Post also mentioned, ‘The filmmaker also noted that this is evidence that “Unplanned” isn’t portraying these people as monsters. Instead, some workers appear to find something redeeming about the movie, and are taking personal action as a result’ (Christian Post, Ibid.).
One of the more controversial discussions about the film has been its R-rating by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) due to its violence and subject matter. Many made the claim that the MPAA did this out of political bias to keep potential abortive mothers (most of whom are under 17) from seeing the film.
The MPAA has denied this. When asked what her thoughts were on the severe rating, Abby Johnson stated: ‘We are pushing the boundaries of what has never been before on such a wide scale by showing America exactly what abortion is — and abortion is disturbing. It’s violent,’ (Fox News, Feb 25).
Ken Rather, the VP of distribution at Pure Flix voiced his opinion on the matter: ‘A 15 year-old-girl can get an abortion without her parent’s permission but she can’t see this movie without adult supervision? That’s sad’ (quoted in Ibid.).
By God’s providence, this film has not been the only instrument in the fight for life for unborn children. Several US states have since attempted to pass ‘foetal heartbeat bills’ which prohibit abortions after a particular time period when the heartbeat is detected (generally after 6 weeks).
In legal terms this is a very controversial matter since the infamous federal court case Roe v Wade made it constitutionally difficult for a state to restrict abortions. However, many conservative legislatures have attempted to pass such a bill in order to possibly revoke Roe v Wade. Twenty states have attempted to pass these bills but only three have managed to pass them into law (Ohio, Mississippi, and Georgia).
Whether the states that passed the heartbeat bill will be challenged in federal court remains to be seen. But if there is a legal challenge, pro-abortion activists are concerned that a more conservative Supreme Court may overturn Roe v Wade.
Please continue to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ in the US as we pray and strive for the right for life for the unborn child. Let us pray that God would end this awful slaughter and save those who are causing these deaths. Please pray that the Lord would further the efforts of crisis pregnancy centres so that young women would be able to see their children and come to Christ.
In my own church we have a young lady who would have aborted her child were it not for a crisis pregnancy centre and an ultrasound. Today she is a vibrant member of our church and her son is one of the covenant flock.
Ben Wilkerson served with Sheffield Presbyterian Church, UK, and is a Christian writer residing in the USA.