A conversation with Abby Johnson and the directors of Unplanned

“This movie will change everything” were the words of Cary Solomon on March 21 at the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture’s panel discussion of the new movie Unplanned, which was released on March 29. This message echoes the excitement that filled the room as Abby Johnson, Chuck Konzelman, Cary Solomon, Mary Fiorito, and Carter Snead discussed the powerful messages found in this new movie.

Unplanned tells the true, powerful, and eye-opening story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director. After working for Planned Parenthood for eight years and rising to the top of the clinic, everything changed for Johnson when she saw an ultrasound-guided abortion in 2009. Faced with the brutality of abortion, which is concealed even from Planned Parenthood employees, Abby left the industry and has committed herself to the pro-life movement, sharing her story of healing and conversion, and assisting other Planned Parenthood employees to leave the industry through her ministry, And Then There Were None.

Co-directors of the film, Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, presented their unique perspectives behind the creation of Unplanned. Both shared their conviction that the creation of this film has been a direct calling from God to spread Abby Johnson’s story in order to change the way that people see abortion. When discussing the true reality of abortion portrayed in the film, Solomon passionately claimed, “People will no longer be able to say they didn’t know.” Konzelman discussed the great accuracy of the movie in depicting what truly happened to Johnson and what is really going on inside of Planned Parenthood clinics.

Mary Fiorito, a Cardinal Francis George Fellow, attorney for the Archdiocese of Chicago, and Catholic public speaker, was also present to discuss the powerful themes present in the movie. She shared from her own powerful experiences of doing pro-life work and reflected on the theme of friendship found in the film. Fiorito beautifully explained the need that every mother in a crisis pregnancy has for a friend. She movingly called on all of us to be that friend to encourage and support mothers before, during, and after their pregnancies.

A common sentiment expressed throughout the evening was one of great hope, love, and encouragement. All the speakers shared the powerful message of hope and love that this movie will send to the world. Johnson explained that this movie is meant to empower women to know that, no matter what, there is hope for healing and restoration. Her reflections reveal that this movie is not aimed at condemning and accusing, but rather, at inspiring and convicting the world of the horrors of abortion and the Planned Parenthood industry, as well as the need for true human love and compassion, especially for the most vulnerable in our society.  

Johnson and the other panelists shared their great hope that pro-choice people will see Unplanned in order that all might be more informed about the reality of abortion and the Planned Parenthood industry.

The directors shared their excitement for what this movie will do for the pro-life movement. They hope that it will serve to change, inform, and inspire hearts to defend both mothers and their children in order to create a culture that believes once again in the dignity of every human person from the moment of conception until natural death.

Unplanned premiered on March 29, 2019.

Mary Benz is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame studying Theology and Pre-Med. She is passionate about the Catholic Faith, her big family, and being Pro-Life. Contact her at mbenz1@nd.edu.