My view of “Unplanned”
I was born into a world where abortion was legal. I was born into a world where abortion was accepted. I was born into a world where abortion was a fact.
There are some things in life that you have to come face to face with to truly understand. Most things we know because we know them in our head. Only a small percentage of things do we fully comprehend with our heart. On Saturday afternoon I learned something in my heart — and I can never forget.
This past week, I had the chance to view the brand new movie about the life of Abby Johnson. I entered the dark theater not knowing what to expect. I had heard only a little of the movie, “Unplanned.” I knew it had perhaps unfairly been given an R rating and I knew it was a pro-life movie.
As I sat through the first few minutes I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being strapped into a roller coaster ride, one that was on the brink – about to take off up and down some treacherous hills. What did I just sign myself up for? I wondered as my belly got that sinking feeling and I looked away from the screen – – eyes clenched.
I won’t lie. There were a few scenes that were so difficult to watch and some that brought memories like waves washing over me. It would only be fair of me to tell you that those scenes were absolutely necessary to tell the whole truth of what abortion is and what it is not.
The movie stirred up emotion in me that I had forgotten even existed – maybe it didn’t exist before now. I can’t be too sure.
I was a naive kid growing up in a preacher’s home. I knew what abortion was… or at least I thought I did. I was a young teen about 20 years after Roe v. Wade. I knew that women held that right to choose but I also knew it was the ending of a pregnancy — of a baby. I didn’t think or know much more about it. As I grew older I understood more of the political perspective of abortion and yet I still had no idea of what really went on in a clinic.
I was in 8th grade when one of my friends didn’t make it to the first few periods of the day. We ate lunch together everyday, so, I looked for her and wondered where she was.
Soon, I noticed she was walking into the cafeteria, sitting down at our normal table. She was quiet. A few minutes later we made our way to the playground out back where kids hung out until the next bell rang.
I can’t remember if it was Fall or Spring. I just remember standing outside with kids talking and playing games around us. She looked at me and told me point blank that she had just come from an abortion clinic. I looked at her – not sure how to respond or what to say.
I was a quiet kid — known for being shy and for being a preacher’s daughter. I followed the rules and kept my head low — hoping not to be noticed, really. I almost proudly didn’t react to much –I lived day to day just kind of accepting whatever came my way. But my friend … she looked different. Her eyes looked blank as she said, “I can’t believe my baby’s gone.”
I won’t pretend to know what she experienced. I wish I had been able to ask. I don’t know what she saw that day. I’m not sure if she was awake or asleep — if they showed her her child’s heart beating or even how far along she was. All I know is that she knew she was having a baby and now that baby was gone.
She was 13 years old and I’m certain the man who did this to her and forced the abortion on her, probably the same man who dropped her back off at school that day, should have been in jail.
I don’t know what I said to her that day. I wanted to be there for her. I knew she didn’t want any of this. I knew she was in a very unfortunate circumstance, I now realize she was probably being taken advantage of by a man more than twice her age. When I was 13, I didn’t realize how awful that was, or that she probably needed help. I was scared she would think I was judging her. I was afraid to even invite her to church for fear that she would think I was better than her.
Her spirit seemed to be crushed as she stood there with tears dripping down her cheeks. She didn’t want to talk much after that day. She was silent. So was I.
That wouldn’t be the only time I was silent during my school years. When I was a junior, I was at a youth event where a new girl had just walked forward to repent and to become a follower of Christ.
At one point she had wondered off, alone, possibly praying in the sanctuary. When some of us teen girls found her, in the very last pew of the darkened room…she shared that she was newly pregnant and very scared. She was probably in 9th or 10th grade. I didn’t know her well, but I’m sure we went to school together. I just wanted to hug her or hold her hand and listen to her… to tell her we were all here for her. There were people who could help her, who would love her, her family, and her baby. However, I only listened as a girl in charge, one of the youth leaders, suggested she get an abortion — the easy choice, because God would ultimately forgive her.
I seem to wear silence well. In a world filled with loud voices, I’m voiceless. And weary. I’m weary. I’m tired.
This world has been turned upside down — inside out. We are called to love the Lord God with ALL our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves. As I watched Unplanned I was heavily convicted. I was convicted of my own dirty filthy heart. I was convicted that we must turn from this madness. There must be a cleaning – a renewal of our hearts.
How many times have I sought the easy thing over the hard thing? How many times have I kept quiet about my own convictions? How many times have I not stood up for adoption, for orphans, and for helping single moms who need help? How many times have we been voiceless? How long will we wait to share the love of Christ with these women who need hope? Why is it easier to keep to ourselves instead of walking the hard path — the path of servanthood?
I stepped out of that theater, my heart broken, crumbling. Seeing my own shame in the face of this epidemic of death, I wish I had done more. I wish I hadn’t let my own fear get in the way of loving my neighbor. I wish I could hug those girls who are now middle aged women and tell them how sorry I am that they had to face this alone — that the church didn’t stand with them– didn’t advocate for them or their baby.
We are in a war with an extremely slick enemy. But we must find our voice — no matter how scared we are, or unequipped, or unqualified.
This war is not going to be won through social media. It won’t be won with witty quips. It will be won on our knees in prayer. It will be won when we use our voice to lift up the 60 million women who have suffered the loss of their child at the hand of people pretending to care about them.
May the church stand united. May we unite as the Bride of Christ with hearts filled with love to protect mother and baby.
This is a spiritual battle, not a political issue, not a woman’s issue. It’s a war between darkness and light. The lines have been clearly drawn. I don’t stand in judgement but I stand in hope. My hands are open and willing to do what we must to walk along side moms in counseling, loving, helping, adopting — giving them resources, truth, and most of all hope.
I stand on the side of light. I stand on the side of love. Who else will rise and be a voice in this wilderness? Will you?