When Ashley Bratcher took the leading role in Unplanned, she wasn’t ambivalent about life — but she wasn’t exactly passionate about it either. Then came the revelation that turned her world upside down. Ashley, who was about to star in a movie about abortion, had almost been a victim of it.
Her emotional true story came tumbling out in interview on Fox & Friends Tuesday, giving the project a whole new meaning. And not just for Ashley. Like a lot of actresses, Bratcher had no idea who Abby Johnson was when she first auditioned to play her. “I was given just six pages. Six pages that ignited my curiosity… How could this incredibly [devoted] woman one day change her mind about everything she believed in? There had to be more to the story.”
As a lot of pro-lifers know, Johnson, the former director of Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas stood in a clinic room on a fall day in 2009, watching the ultrasound of a baby who would never be born. As the doctor started to snuff out another life, Abby Johnson decided in that moment to change hers. After watching 22,000 unborn children die, the eight-year veteran of the abortion movement turned in her resignation. “I just thought I can’t do this anymore, and it was just like a flash hit me. [A]nd I thought, that’s it.”
But now, Abby’s conversion is just one part of the story. Thanks to a brave mom, this film’s cast is living proof that choosing life changes lives. By the time Ashley got the job, she says, “A fire was lit inside of me. I was convicted.” Things moved so fast, she explains, she barely had time to tell her family about the project before she was on set in Oklahoma. When she finally talked to her mom, she was concerned that telling her about the plot would upset her. “When I was in high school,” Ashley remembers, “my mother shared with me that she’d had an abortion when she was 16.” It devastated her, Ashley writes in a column on Fox. Three years later, at 19, “she became pregnant with me. ‘I knew I could never have an abortion again,’ she told me.”
But Ashley had no idea how close she’d come. Through a stream of tears on the phone, her mom’s voice broke. “I need to tell you something that I’ve never told you before.” She paused, “I was going to abort you.” Ashley sat in stunned silence as her mom went on. “I was at the clinic sitting on the table when the nurse who was very pregnant came in to talk to me. I felt sick. I couldn’t do it. I got up and walked out… and I chose you.”
Later that night, Ashley called her dad. “Is this true? Why didn’t someone tell me?” she pleaded. They thought they were too young to have a baby, he said. “We didn’t have enough money, so I pawned a shotgun so we could pay for the abortion.” How do you tell your daughter that, Ashley wonders? “When is the right time to tell her that you were going to abort her? I don’t know how to put in words what it feels like to learn you were seconds away from never existing.” But, as her dad sobbed on the phone, she heard the words that give her story so much meaning. “You being there making this movie is proof to me that God is so real. That he has a plan for your life.”
Just like He had a plan for Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Tim Tebow, Pope John Paul II, Steve Jobs, and so many other people we can’t imagine the world without. There are almost 60 million other voices we’ll never hear, inventions we’ll never have, football games we’ll never watch because of abortion. If Ashley’s story and Abby’s story and so many other mothers’ stories can save just one life, it will have been worth it.
“I’m grateful that God, through His providence, planted me here to tell my story — and that I have the privilege of sharing this film with the world. And yes, I do secretly hope that one of the outcomes of all of these ‘coincidences’ is that many will find the courage my mother found when she listened to her conscience and made the choice that gave me life.”
Written by Tony Perkins for Patriot Post ~ December 20, 2018