For the second week since its release, Unplanned, the pro-life propaganda film receiving acclaim in the US has gained a strong box office showing, surprising industry observers.
The piece was adapted from the rather suspect memoir of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who sheds her former morals to become a pro-life advocate as a direct result of witnessing a medical abortion.
Unplanned has come under fire for the monstrous way in which it depicts abortion procedures and those who provide them.
The film opens with a gruesome and factually inaccurate portrayal of an abortion at 13 weeks, which contributed to the film’s R rating for “some disturbing/bloody images,” according to the New York Times.
In the scene that promotional materials described as “the moment that changed everything”: a 13-week-old fetus is shown “twisting and fighting for its life”, as Abby later explains through tears the medical process of termination.
Jennifer Villavicencio of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists dismissed this notion entirely, telling the Times that the broad scientific consensus is that a fetus cannot feel pain or sense danger that early on in a pregnancy.
“There is no neurological capability for awareness of danger,” she said. “That part of the brain is simply not there yet.”
Other inaccuracies include the erroneous portrayal of Planned Parenthood as a “billion-dollar corporation” dead set on profiting off abortion — the organisation, which is a nonprofit, says that only 3% of its services are abortion-related.
So good to see movie theaters across the country showing @UnplannedMovie -- a deeply inspiring new pro-life film based on the best-selling book by @AbbyJohnson. More & more Americans are embracing the sanctity of life because of powerful stories like this one. #Unplanned— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) April 1, 2019
The film – which counts Donald Trump Jr, Mike Pence and Ted Cruz among its fans – is the latest from the writing team behind the 2014 Christian drama God’s Not Dead in which a devout Christian student must prove the existence of God or else his college philosophy professor will fail him.
What's even more alarming than Mike Pence heralding the flick, is that Unplanned ranked eighth in weekend sales, grossing $3.2 million for a total of almost $12.5 million since its 39 March release, according to Box Office Mojo.
“This film has been an overwhelming success,” Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott said in a press release, adding that the film “is helping to raise awareness to national and regional pro-life movements around the country.”
Most US states allow abortion up until 24 weeks, however, there have been attempts in a number of states to restrict the practice.
In Georgia, for example, state lawmakers last month passed a bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks.
The bill is awaiting signature by the governor and is expected to be challenged in the courts.