The pro-life film “Unplanned” opens in theaters across Canada on Friday, despite threats of violence, demands for censorship and protests by abortion activists.
“Unplanned” is based on the true story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who became pro-life after watching an unborn baby be aborted on an ultrasound screen. It received overwhelming support in American theaters this spring, but filmmakers faced numerous hurdles trying to bring it to Canadian audiences.
The Star reports 56 theaters plan to show the film starting Friday. However, there are no scheduled showings in two provinces, including Prince Edward Island.
“Like many of our members and pro-life supporters on Prince Edward Island, I was massively disappointed and upset,” Pat Wiedemer, executive director of PEI Right to Life Association, told the CBC. “What is the underlying motive for not allowing Islanders to make their own decision on this film?”
She said they may try to hold a private showing sometime in the future.
Some theaters canceled their planned showings after receiving death threats, and others are increasing security because of planned pro-abortion protests. Still more refused to show the film because of censorship efforts by abortion activists. News reports mention pro-abortion protests in Edmonton, Calgary and London.
Mark Mercer, a professor of philosophy at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, told The Star that abortion activists are trying to stifle debate through their outrage over the film.
“They don’t trust them to see this film, to listen to other voices, to make up their own mind,” he said. “ … That can push [anti-abortion people] underground, and that can make things even worse.”
Abby Johnson previously commented about the hostilities in Canada as well.
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“I have to wonder what they’re afraid of,” she said. “I’m also deeply concerned that many people here have not been able to speak publicly, because they are concerned about punishment. That is not democracy; that is oppression.”
Ironically, Canadian abortion activists are attacking the film by claiming it could incite violence against abortionists.