Prescreening of pro-life movie encourages viewers to keep fighting for life


Photo by: Elizabeth Wagner

With the March for Life only two days away, students packed tightly into the Gentile Gallery on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. for a special prescreening of the movie “Unplanned,” based on the compelling book by former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson.

After some delays from technical difficulties, the crowd settled and watched the inspirational film, which was followed by a Q&A session with Ashley Bratcher, the lead actress in “Unplanned.” The film told the story of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, who realized the evils of abortion and left the industry, becoming a strong voice in the pro-life movement.

“God’s hand is in this movie,” said Bratcher as she looked out into the room of over 100 Franciscan University students and guests.

Students who attended the screening were moved by the powerful pro-life message of the film.

“‘Unplanned’ was way more powerful than I was expecting,” said senior clinical psychology student Sarah Harrison. “I had read the book in high school … but seeing it on screen, seeing the reality of abortion, was so heartbreaking. … I think it is easy to become desensitized by abortion, which is exactly what Planned Parenthood wants, and so seeing the reality of abortion and who Planned Parenthood is, is going to change the course of the prolife movement.”

Bratcher shared her story with the invested crowd, explaining that her life was affected deeply by abortion, though she did not know this when she accepted the role of Abby Johnson. Though she knew that her mother had had an abortion before she was born, when she told her mother about her role in this movie, her mother revealed a part of the story Bratcher hadn’t yet heard: “Ashley, I was in the procedure room, I was on the table a second time, and I was getting ready to abort you.”

“I never knew that,” said Bratcher, who believes that God’s providence brought her to this project in order to share her story with others.

Peter Birri, a graduate business and theology student at Franciscan University, said, “The screening signifies that the truth of abortion will be harder to ignore for those who choose to see it.”

Recalling the upcoming annual event, the March for Life, he continued, “Concerning the March, this movie is a reminder to those who spend their time at such things: their presence is impactful; they may never know it, but their efforts are not wasted.”

Bratcher ended the night by encouraging the students at Franciscan University not to fear to be courageous. “God is really opening up doors for us to reach our generation, to reveal the truth and to share with people love and compassion in that truth,” she said.

She especially encouraged the students who were participating at the March for Life; she empowered them to be bold with zeal for the pro-life movement in America.

“Unplanned” is set to be released to the general public on March 29 in select theaters. To support the film or find out more, visit

This prescreening of “Unplanned” was hosted by Students for Life – Values Outreach.