This weekend, the pro-life movie Unplanned will debut in Cineplex and Landmark theatres across Canada. Out of thousands of possible theatres, it will be shown in less than 50, for only a short run.
“As movie releases go, this is very minor,” commented Anna Nienhuis of We Need a Law, a national organization advocating for legal protections for pre-born children. “But the reaction from the pro-abortion movement has made this release a very big deal, and actually helped open up the dialogue about abortion in Canada.”
For those who go to see the movie, and now those who hear about it through news coverage, it will raise awareness of the reality of what is being done to pre-born humans in a second trimester surgical abortion, and through a chemical abortion via the abortion pill.
“Both of these procedures are happening in Canada too,” said Nienhuis. “That’s why we advocate for an International Standards Law that would bring Canada into line with other liberal democracies by regulating abortion after 13 weeks.”
Abortion rights activist Joyce Arthur has been repeatedly quoted in the media as fearing this film will incite violence against abortion providers, despite the movie being told from the perspective of providers. Ironically, the only violence has come from her side: theatres planning to show the film have received threats from abortion activists, including personal threats against staff and their families. Some are planning for security to protect their employees.
“All of this over a movie that no one is being forced to watch,” said Nienhuis. “Abortion has the power to bring out so much emotion in people – it is clear that it is nothing like a standard medical procedure, and our deeper cultural conscience still recognizes that the ending of a pre-born child’s life is not a simple, easy thing to do.”
Cineplex defended their decision to show the film. President and CEO Ellis Jacob said the decision was not made lightly, and referenced the kind of nation we would be if we didn’t allow dissenting voices to be heard.
Having this movie come to Canada is having a significant impact on the public discourse about abortion before it is even shown. “Pro-choice politicians and advocacy groups alike are scared,” said Nienhuis. “They realize that the abortion movement is built on euphemisms, distractions, and rhetoric. So, they also realize that a film that shows the ugly, horrible reality of abortion has the power to change people’s minds, to upset the status quo that is already on increasingly wobbly legs.”
An updated list of locations to view the film can be found here.
Anna Nienhuis is a research and policy assistant at We Need A Law. The above is a press release from the Canadian pro-life organisation.