Unplanned and uncomfortable
How a controversial film gives way to discussion
By Diana Pfeifer
EIC’s note: The Carillon prides itself on publishing work of varying opinions. Sometimes this means publishing work that doesn’t necessarily line up with the beliefs of the editorial staff. However, that doesn’t mean that the editor can’t write a preface that includes the link to planned Parenthood as well as critiques of Unplanned like a piece from CTV highlighting the protests against the film screening. It should also be noted that Unplanned is marketed as being based on true events, giving the creators ample artistic license.
It is because of the disconnect between those who label themselves as “pro-choice” and those who label themselves as “pro-life” that I decided to write this article.
I know that there are many people who do not believe that Unplanned should have been screened in Canada much less anywhere else, but I disagree. If we want to live in a country that encourages free speech and free thought, then the censorship of a movie, which tells the true story of a young woman, should not be allowed.
The movie follows a woman named Abby Johnson from her navigating Planned Parenthood as a guide who walks women into the clinic, to her eventual role as a director. Her journey to becoming a pro-life activist is not without its barriers. She does not shy away from what really happened, including admitting she had two abortions when she was younger, and discusses how when she was a director, she fit in as many abortions as she could in one day before a big storm hit. Her story is credible because of these events, and the audience can see that she was not perfect.
Her journey to becoming a pro-life activist starts when she is asked to help with an ultrasound-guided abortion; she sees the baby sucked out of the woman’s uterus but not before the baby tries to squirm away from the vacuum.
What makes this a powerful movie is what happened after it was released; people began openly talking about abortion and not shying away from it. The message of the movie is about how the idea of abortion might seem to be about a woman’s right to her body, but the truth of abortion is much more difficult to defend.
What makes it such a great movie is that it offers compassion to the women who feel abortion is their only option, and shows an organization that is happy to help women should they choose to keep their babies or give them up for adoption. This idea of being compassionate while also not forgetting that biologically it is a baby, just in an earlier stage of development, is something that will allow for open communication and a real discussion about what abortion is and how we can better help these women who feel trapped.
I want to live in a world where people can voice their opinions and where media is not censored due to people’s personal opinions – within reason, of course. I do not agree with hate speech, but I believe that some things labelled hate speech are just differing opinions, and I believe that as Canadians who want to be free, we need to allow these opinions and discussions.
There are few people who enjoy having discussions that are uncomfortable, but it’s precisely because these discussions make us uncomfortable that we need to have them, and movies such as Unplanned ignite these conversations rather than hide them.