Actress Ashley Bratcher had no idea that she had her own pro-life story when she agreed to play pro-life leader Abby Johnson in the upcoming film “Unplanned.”
But when Bratcher (“War Room,” “90 Minutes in Heaven”) called her mother to tell her about the role, the actress learned that her parents almost had aborted her.
In an essay for Fox News, the actress described how she became passionately pro-life because of the film. From learning about Johnson’s conversion to finding out more about her own life story, Bratcher’s experience was life-changing.
“I’ve always considered myself pro-life but certainly not an activist,” she began. “I had no idea who Abby Johnson was when I first auditioned …”
Bratcher soon learned that Johnson was a well-known pro-life advocate who once had run a Planned Parenthood abortion facility. Through the prayers and peaceful outreach of pro-lifers in her town, Johnson eventually discovered the reality of abortion and became pro-life. The film “Unplanned” follows Johnson’s story. It is based on her biography of the same name.
Reading Johnson’s story “left me in a puddle of tears on the floor,” Bratcher said. “My heart was broken and my eyes were opened to the harsh reality of abortion. The experience that she described while working at Planned Parenthood shook me to my core.”
That was just the first heart-wrenching experience for Bratcher. The second happened when she called her mother to tell her about her new role.
When I was in high school, my mother shared with me that she’d had an abortion when she was 16. She had been devastated by her choice and 3 years later she found herself in the same predicament. At 19, she became pregnant with me. “I knew I could never have an abortion again,” she told me.
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That was the end of the story. It was a casual conversation. I never thought twice about it until it was time to explain “Unplanned.”
As I began telling her Abby’s story, I heard her fall apart. Her voice broke as she said, “I need to tell you something that I’ve never told you before.” Through tears she confessed, “I was going to abort you.”
I sat in confused silence as she continued, “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.”
I didn’t know what to say. I needed time to process what I’d just heard. It didn’t make sense. How could it be possible that I was here telling Abby’s story while never having known my own?
Bratcher said her father later confirmed the story. He said they thought they were too young to have her, and he pawned a shotgun to pay for the abortion.
She said he sobbed over the phone as he told her: “You being there making this movie is proof to me that God is so real. That he has a plan for your life.”
The actress thanked her parents for choosing life for her so that she now can encourage other mothers to make the same choice.
“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,” she said. “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.”
“Unplanned” is slated for release in 2019. The film is written and directed by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, who co-wrote the popular Christian films “God’s Not Dead” and “I Can Only Imagine.”
Johnson now runs a non-profit organization called And Then There Were None, which helps abortion workers quit their jobs.