Five Insights Gleaned From The Movie “Unplanned”

Five Insights Gleaned From The Movie “Unplanned”

By Doug “Uncola” Lynn via

Over the weekend, I was where I needed to pass some time and thought an early afternoon matinee would do the trick. Although I was not overly enthused to see any of the films currently showing, I chose to see Unplanned.  Mainly because the title seemed apropos just then and the movie’s starting time fit my schedule. Moreover, it looked to be a political film about the controversial subject of abortion and was, in fact, based on a true story.

The tale told of the life and times of Abby Johnson, a headstrong young lady from Texas who became one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the United States. She resigned in 2009 after seeing a fetus at 13 weeks gestation recoil in pain during an ultrasound-guided vacuum aspiration abortion.

The film portrayed the abortion industry, as exactly that, an industrywhereby Planned Parenthood profited most from procedures terminating pregnancies; even to the point of demanding quotas from its clinics. Furthermore, distinct and contrasting parallels were drawn between those who believed they were advocating on behalf of women’s rights with those who believed life began at conception.

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In fact, the ideological boundaries in the film were literally, and figuratively, defined by an iron-barred fence standing just beyond the Planned Parenthood clinic doors in Bryan, Texas; a line of separation, as it were, between the near-medieval Mengele-like procedures inside and the loud protestations and prayers of the pro-life activists standing on the outside.

Here are five insights gleaned from the film:

1.) Our worldview is determined by what we think we see

In a recent article regarding “movies in the mind”, I wrote the following:

In every circumstance, our personal perceptions of identity are derived from the stories we tell ourselves. Of course, some of the narration may have originated from external sources but the feedback loops don’t become part our identity until we accept them readily into our ongoing internal dialogue…

Stories can bind or tear apart. They can soothe or roil individual relations, families, societies, and nations….

The stories in our heads play as movies in our minds; even to the point of framing our very identities.

And nowhere was this more evidently displayed than in the movie “Unplanned”, which was based upon Abby Johnson’s book of the same name about real people and events.  Both her parents and husband did not approve of her career choice, primarily, because they believed babies were ordained by God in the womb.  Actually, during the film, the audience saw Johnson’s family attending church together while hearing the pastor quote the Bible’s Psalm 139:13 as follows:

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

At that time, Abby didn’t see that conception (pun intended).  Instead, like most women’s rights advocates, she saw a fetus as merely a lump of cells, like a tumor sewn together by chance, with no value and feeling no pain when removed from the uterus.

Seeing is believing, and once we accept what we think we see, then that frame of reference becomes another allegorical bar in the metaphorical iron fence that defines, and defends, our worldview.

Decades before Donald Trump ever took the political stage, way before weapons of mass destruction or the stained-blue dress – abortion has divided America in two. It’s because people on both sides of the proverbial fence are seeing, and therefore believing, separate ideas.

Did God create humanity or did we evolve from the muck?  Is a fetus a human baby or an exponentially accelerating mass of corpuscles?  Whatever one sees will determine a specific ranking of internalized priorities and, in turn, also regulate each priority’s merit, or importance, or value.

2.) Our values derive from our worldview

Ethics are foundational to organizing society, just as morals are to a group or community, and as values define relationships. Each contain intrinsic principles paired to a scale.  If values are determined, and ranked, by what individuals consider as most important – then these, most certainly, are sorted according to the stories we see in our heads; by our worldview.

Consider, as an example, the principle of honesty.  If any accord is to be attained on honesty between individuals, then each party must value facts over falsehoods.  This means they place a higher preference for truth above lies and, in so doing, the accord between the individuals would be determined as follows:

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