Posted on May 1, 2019



Unplanned Vs. Untruthful

Abortion messaging in the movies


Daniel Clark



The movie Unplanned, about former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson’s defection to the pro-life movement, has done surprisingly well at the box office.  That’s great, but unfortunately, it’s not likely to get much play on TV, where it could be seen by those who aren’t actively seeking its message.  This came to mind recently, when Starz Encore started running the pro-abortion movement’s most successful cinematic effort, The Cider House Rules, the 1999 Academy Award winner written by John Irving, and starring Michael Caine.

If you happen to be someone who’s wavering on the abortion issue, it might be helpful to contrast the messages of these two movies.  While the content of Unplanned is nothing surprising to those who actively oppose abortion, elements of it would shock most others, because the facts it exposes are so divergent from what the public is instructed to believe.

For instance, the pro-abortion movement and therefore the news media would have us believe that a chemical abortion is as simple as a woman taking a couple pills and ceasing to be pregnant.  The severe pain and excessive bleeding that Johnson experiences from her own RU-486 abortion, and Planned Parenthood’s acknowledgment that these complications are not unexpected, tell a different story.

The incident that ultimately causes Johnson’s reversal, when she is called to assist with an abortion and sees a sonogram of an unborn child fighting for its life before its graphic termination, contrasts with the popular perception of a suction abortion as a simple extraction, not unlike sucking a lemon seed through a straw.  Most people probably have no idea that, as tiny as an unborn child is at that stage of development, it is still many times larger than the suction tube that is used to destroy it.

In the end, Johnson is freed by her willingness to accept the truth.  Contrast this with The Cider House Rules, in which it is lies that are portrayed as liberating.  The conflict in that movie is between Dr. Wilbur Larch, who runs a WWII-era orphanage where he does illegal abortions, and his protege, an orphan named Homer Wells, who opposes abortion, but comes to accept it through an exercise in situational ethics.

When a young, infirmed orphan named Fuzzy dies, Dr. Larch explains his absence by having one of the older children tell the others that Fuzzy has been adopted.  The children will believe it, he reasons, because they want it to be true.

After a young couple named Wally and Candy stop at the orphanage for an abortion, Homer goes with them – over Dr. Larch’s objections – to work on an apple orchard owned by Wally’s family.  Wally introduces Homer to his mother, but doesn’t want to explain how they know each other, so he tells her they met at a wedding.  Shortly afterward, Wally goes off to fight in the war, from which he eventually comes back paralyzed. Homer and Candy in the meantime have had an affair, but agree that it is best to conceal it – for Wally’s sake, of course. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Larch, hopeful of Homer’s return, forges a diploma and a medical license for him so that he can take over at the orphanage.  Using reverse psychology, Dr. Larch presents the falsified qualifications to the orphanage’s board of trustees, but pretends to disapprove of Homer by claiming that he’s a Christian, and even concocting a story about him doing missionary work in India.  According to plan, he dupes the board into demanding that Homer be chosen to be his successor-in-waiting.

Back at the orchard, Homer learns that the foreman, Mr. Rose, has impregnated his own daughter.  After confronting Mr. Rose about the matter, Homer volunteers to perform an abortion, leading any attentive viewer to wonder what the nature of his objection had been in the first place.  Not long afterward, Mr. Rose’s daughter stabs her father and runs away.  The mortally wounded and guilt-ridden Mr. Rose persuades Homer to tell the police that he committed suicide, so that his daughter may go free.

Upon receiving news that Dr. Larch has died, Homer returns to the orphanage.  One of the sisters there reveals to him that a heart condition he thought he had was nonexistent.  Dr. Larch had dummied up the diagnosis to keep him out of the war.  The visibly grateful Homer agrees to continue Dr. Larch’s work, as an uneducated, unlicensed doctor and an illegal abortionist.

The fact that this homage to the art of lying was written by a pro-abortion propagandist, and celebrated by Planned Parenthood (which gave an award to this heroic portrayal of “back-alley butchers”), tells us everything we need to know about the veracity of the pro-abortion argument.  Whereas  truth is cast as the hero in Unplanned, in The Cider House Rules, truth is an adversary that must be vigilantly opposed.

If this sounds like an unlikely admission for the adherents of any political cause to make, just look at the way they go about their day-to-day activism.  Liberal Supreme Court justices declare abortion to be a “fundamental constitutional right” even though they know it has no foundation in the Constitution, and then they defend that argument by claiming that every person has a right to his or her own reality.  Abortion clinic employees routinely lie to women about the development of their unborn children, and about the dangers of various abortion procedures to the women themselves.  Abortion advocates rail against people who show pictures of dead unborn children, as if an accurate representation of the act of abortion were worse than the carnage itself.

Even the pro-aborts’ promotion of their own movie is a lie.  If you ever see a copy of The Cider House Rules on DVD, pick it up and read the jacket.  You won’t find any mention of the a-word, or even any reference to it, however indirect.  Ditto that for any description of it on your cable or satellite TV guide, where you’re likely to see it explained as a heartwarming tale of an orphan being raised by a kindly doctor.  That’s like trying to explain Dumbo to someone without giving any hint that it has anything to do with a flying elephant.

Pro-abortion activists knew all along what The Cider House Rules was about, however, and they are the target audience of its pro-lying message.  Irving’s movie is a pep talk, in which he tries to relieve abortion advocates of responsibility for their words and actions.  There’s no need for them to feel hesitant to lie, or guilty for having done so, because lying is good, as long as it’s being done for the cause.  And the cause demands that it be done.  Always.



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