UNPLANNED (2019)*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Ruth
The movie opens with Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher) and her husband being woken up by their young daughter. They play and have breakfast together until Abby leaves in a for work. The daughter runs after her, not wanting her to leave but Abby explains Saturday is the busiest day at her work, and she promises when she gets home, they will spend time together.
When she arrives at the clinic, she works at, she narrates that people ask her if she was genuinely naive and that people do not like her answer when she says yes. She explains that her story is messy and may make the audience “squirm” and the camera reveals the clinic she works at is Planned Parenthood.
Abby is in her office when a coworker asks her to come help in the “back room.” Abby narrates that she has worked there for eight years and has never been asked to help out the surgical team with an abortion. When she enters the procedure room, the doctor asks her to hold an ultrasound probe to the woman on the operating table. They determine it is a “13 weeker” and a nurse holds the woman down who appears distressed. Abby, watching the screen says the fetus moved away from the catheter. The doctor continues the procedure and turns a vacuum device on and Abby becomes upset and teary-eyed as she watches the fetus get sucked out on the ultrasound screen and sees the blood and tissue come out. Abby runs out and cries in the bathroom.
Abby in voiceover says that this is her story and it cuts to a flashback of her in college.
She meets a woman running a Planned Parenthood booth at a job fair. She explains to Abby that their clinic is essential to their clients for birth control or abortions if needed. Abby says her family is against abortion, so she is as well. The woman explains their main goal is to make abortions “rarer,” to help with birth control, so abortions aren’t needed. Abby agrees to sign up to help but narrates that she did not want to tell her mother because she would not understand.
Abby drives around protesters for her first day of volunteering as a patient escort and is nervous. She is greeted by another volunteer escort named Summer who explains the job is helping women into the clinic and distracting them from the yelling protestors. Summer introduces Abby to the clinic director Cheryl (Robia Scott). Abby asks her if all the women they are escorting are having abortions and Cheryl explains Saturday is the only day they offer abortions and that the protestors outside are from the “Coalition For Life” who are out to shut them down. They are interrupted when their first patient pulls up, a young woman who is being harassed by a protestor behind the fence. Abby and Summer escort her in, but Abby is angered by the protestor who shouts obscenities.
Abby handles the next client who is being talked to by a calmer protestor attempting to talk the client out of an abortion and Abby tells the protestor off. Abby and Summer do not reach the next client before a protestor starts speaking to her about other options and Summer exclaims “they got one.” Inside, Cheryl is watching through the window and orders the sprinklers to be turned on and the police to be called which causes the protestors to scatter.
At the end of the day, while Abby is going to her car, a protestor named Marilisa (Emma Elle Roberts) asks her why she volunteered. Abby says she is just trying it out, Marilisa asks her if she knows they perform abortions and Abby says yes and reveals that she has had an abortion and thinks other women should have the same opportunity to get one if they need it. Cheryl comes out and tells Marilisa to leave Abby alone, and they both leave.
Driving away, Abby narrates to explain her past. We see a flashback of her moving into an apartment. She narrates that she became a “party girl” in college, started dating an older man named Mark who lived in her building and she soon became pregnant. Mark suggests she “take care of it” and he drops her off alone to get an abortion. Abby says she has few memories of what happened, just that it hurt and the other patients around her were dazed and sad like her. Afterward, she says she just locked what happened away in her mind but “didn’t stop making bad decisions.” It then cuts to Abby marrying Mark to please her parents, but her father is still clearly unhappy with it. She says after one year Mark left her, and she filed for divorce but soon found she was pregnant by him again. This is now after her first volunteer day at the clinic, and she says she returned there as a patient. Abby is given the “abortion pill” as she was not as far along as the first time. She says they explained it well and it sounded better than her first experience. Abby narrates that she took the pills as instructed, expected some bleeding but woke up from a nap in great pain. She stumbles into her bathroom bleeding and vomiting, and she watches bloody chunks fall from her in the shower.
She calls the clinic the next day who tell her it all sounds reasonable, she is furious, but they hang up on her. In more voiceover, she says she continued to bleed for eight weeks.
After some time passes, Abby returns to the clinic as a volunteer again, and Cheryl tells her they would like her to be the new college recruiter which she accepts. After Abby graduates from college she starts her full career at the clinic but in voiceover explains this upset her family. It cuts to her arguing during a meal with her family and boyfriend, about when life begins for a fetus. When she helps her mother in the kitchen, she tries to explain they prevent cancer at her work, but her mother tells her she will always believe life begins at conception. Abby’s father asks her boyfriend if he is ok with her career and still wants to marry her and it cuts to them getting married.
Starting her new potion is a counselor at the clinic, she stops to say hi to Marilisa behind the fence, it appears they have become friends. Abby narrates that about this time in their lives she and her husband decided to commit to a church together but that she felt alienated as she hears a sermon against abortion.
Back at work Cheryl tells Abby she has a new opportunity for her with their “POC room” and Abby is excited until her coworker jokes that POC doesn’t stand for “Products of conception” but actually “pieces of children.” Abby narrates that the POC room is where they reconstruct the tissue removed during abortions into Petri dishes to make sure all of it was removed from the patient. Cheryl takes her in the room and shows her a fetus, Abby is interested at how it looks, and Cheryl says everyone else who has come in the room and seen this cries, but since Abby didn’t she knows she is a suitable replacement for her when she leaves for a corporate promotion, Abby accepts.
At home with her husband in bed, he asks her if she is sure she’s not pregnant. She says no but looks unsure and takes a test at work the next day. She discovers she is pregnant, and Cheryl offers and encourages her not to continue the pregnancy, but Abby declines. She tells her mother she is pregnant and her parents are thrilled.
It cuts to some time later, Abby is more visibly pregnant, and a man comes in the clinic with his daughter for an abortion. When Abby and the daughter are alone, she tells Abby her father is making her have this abortion but she is scared, Abby assures her it be ok. Later, Abby finds the girl bleeding in the recovery room and rushes her into surgery from having complications and blood loss. Abby wants to call an ambulance, but Cheryl refuses and says it will make the protestors worse and that the girl will be ok. Cheryl makes Abby assure the father everything is fine as he is worried in the waiting room. The girl is eventually ok enough to go home and her father thanks Abby who is still upset. At the end of the day when all the clients are gone Abby’s coworkers surprise her with a baby shower. On her way out she runs into Marilisa again who is also pregnant.
Abby narrates about how the protestors start a “40 days for life prayer-athon” outside which angers Cheryl, but Abby is not there because she has gone into labor. She explains she gave birth and they named their baby girl Grace.
While at home with the baby Abby’s mother tells her she is concerned that Abby is going back to work and not staying home with the baby. Abby says she can’t miss the big opportunity of taking over the clinic which upsets her mother further.
Later that night Abby tells her husband that she believes if she gets the job, it will prove God wants her to have it, and in voiceover, she says she got the job the very next day.
In her first meeting with the staff as the boss, she says she wants them to be nicer to the protestors, and she is informed they have been filming outside recently. Abby goes to speak with their leader Shawn (Marilisa’s husband) and tells them to stop recording, but they refuse, and they get into an argument about civil rights. Abby goes back in and turns the sprinklers on them.
One day a patient comes in and is being yelled at by a woman with the protestors. Abby helps escort her into the building, and the patient reveals the woman yelling at her is her mother and doesn’t want her to go through with her abortion, but she is unphased. Abby is upset by this.
It cuts to 4 years later, and Abby talks about hurricane Ike affecting their patients. Calling from corporate, Cheryl tells her to shut the clinic down because having the patients trying to get to them in the storm could be a liability. Abby persuades her to give the patients a chance to come in before Saturday, and they will cover everyone, which they can pull off. When Abby gets home that night, her daughter notices that she has blood on her shoes which upsets her husband.
It cuts to Cheryl giving Abby The Planned Parenthood award for employee of the year at a corporate meeting. She also reveals that they are breaking ground on the new state of the art facility which will allow them to perform abortions up to 24 weeks. She says that to cover the costs for this, all facilities should expand chemically induced abortions to every day of the week not just Saturday and encourage more abortions. Abby stands up in the middle of the meeting, upset saying she thought that they were supposed to be trying to reduce them. Cheryl is visibly angered but ignores Abby and continues the meeting. After the meeting, she confronts Abby and accuses her of being ungrateful for everything she’s done for her. She compares their business to fast food and says they make the most money from abortion. Abby appears shocked.
Later that night Abby rants to her husband about what happened, they get into an argument, and he tells her he believes that she is killing babies and working there has compromised her values. The next day they go on a lunch date but are interrupted when the TV at the restaurant shows on the news that an abortion doctor was shot in a church. On the car ride home, her husband is scared for their family, so they go to stay at her parent’s house. The next day Abby goes to a corporate HR meeting, and they formally reprimand her for speaking against Cheryl which makes Abby angry.
It cuts to the next day which is the day the film opened on. A waste removal truck driver transporting a blue barrel from behind the clinic is stopped by Marilisa and Shawn. They ask the man if what’s in there is what they think it is, he says yes, and they ask to pray over it which he agrees to. We then see the events from the beginning of the movie again with Abby helping in the procedure room intercut with the couple praying over the barrel from behind the fence.
Now in present time, picking up after Abby cries in the bathroom, she goes to see Marilisa and Shawn at the coalition and says she “wants out.” She cries and tells them what she saw in the operating room and decides she’s going to resign. She goes home and tells her husband, and they embrace.
The next day at the clinic Abby cleans out her office and sends her resignation letter. She calls her mother and tells her that she resigned and her mother and father are pleased and say that they have been waiting for years for her to do this. Later that night Abby’s husband wakes up and sees that she’s not in bed, he finds her crying downstairs. She is upset by how many abortions that she has helped happen at her clinic and she feels guilty, her husband tells her that all she can do is say she’s sorry and beg for forgiveness and God will forgive her.
A few days later Abby goes to help the coalition and join them behind the fence protesting in front of the clinic. She gets a patient to talk with her and convinces her not to get an abortion. When the client drives away Sheryl comes up to her at the fence and tells her they have more financial power than the coalition and they consider her an enemy now.
Sometime later Abby and Shaun meet and discuss how they are being sued by planned parenthood, and they need to get a lawyer. The next day they meet with a famous billboard lawyer. He explains to them that Planned Parenthood is suing on the grounds that they and their patients could face irreparable harm from the confidential information Abby has stolen and disclosed to the coalition. He asks her questions about her taking information and/or disclosing that information to the coalition, and she says she never did. He asks if there is anything she hasn’t told them and she admits she pulled her own patient file because she wanted to see the ultrasound of the fetus she aborted. The lawyer is confident Planned Parenthood’s case is very weak but Abby is still nervous, and he tells her the most powerful words they can use in court are “prove it.”
Cut to Abby and her family walking into the courthouse and Cheryl is outside talking to the press about serving justice and Abby’s lawyer tells her she can’t say anything to her because she’s under a restraining order. Cheryl approaches Abby outside the courtroom and makes fun of her for hiring a billboard lawyer. In voiceover, Abby says this is real life, not a movie, and things don’t go as you expect and it cuts to her mother running from the courtroom crying, but it is a misdirect as her husband walks out and says they won. Abby narrates that she was found innocent. Cheryl approaches Abby again and tells her this isn’t over and Abby’s lawyer makes fun of Cheryl for losing.
Sometime after the trial, she gets a call from Shawn to tell her that the clinic she ran is closing and it eventually shut its doors in 2013. They then show the coalition celebrating as they rip the sign down. Abby makes a speech to them about her mistakes and vows never to forget the lives that were lost in the building and asks them to place roses at the gate for them. She cries and says she is sorry to the two roses she put up for her two abortions, and she says she will see them again in heaven and she walks away with her family. The film ends with the title card and a statement explaining the film was created without the permission or cooperation of planned parenthood and is in no way affiliated with them and a second statement says anyone who needs to speak about the issue should text the coalition.
A woman named Abby (Ashley Bratcher) works for a Planned Parenthood clinic despite the disapproval of her family. She works for several years until one day she is asked to participate in an abortion procedure. This experience leads her to resign and join “The Coalition for Life” who regularly protest outside her clinic.
Abby is sued by Planned Parenthood and her former boss/mentor Cheryl (Robia Scott). They allege she stole confidential doctor/patient files upon her resignation and disclosed them to the coalition. Abby claims she did not and she is found not guilty in the trial because they cannot prove it definitively.
The clinic she used to run eventually shuts down, and Abby gives a speech outside the demolition to the coalition. They place roses on the outer fence as a memorial and Abby uses her roses to signify her own two abortions, to which she apologizes and then walks away with her husband and daughter.