American teens need parental consent to watch a pro-life film - but not to have an abortion
26 February 2019
The new pro-life film has been given an "R" rating.
Are they agreeing that abortion is an act of violence?
The Motion Picture Association of America has given an upcoming pro-life film the highest possible rating, meaning that teenagers who can legally have an abortion without parental consent will not be able to watch a film depicting one unaccompanied.
Unplanned, a film about the real-life conversion story of former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson, has been given an "R" rating, which prohibits under-17s from watching a film unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Objecting to any portrayal of abortion
The filmmakers were certain they were making a PG-13 film, but the MPAA has informed them that it will be rated R for "some disturbing/bloody images" unless all scenes of abortions are removed or altered. The MPAA told the filmmakers at Pure Flix Entertainment that the most problematic scene of Unplanned featured a doctor gazing at a computer screen that shows the image of a fetus as the abortion is completed. Dr. Anthony Levatino, who was portrayed in the scene, said the depiction is accurate. "The portrayal of a live, moving fetus disappearing is very accurate," said Dr Levatino, who performed about 1,200 abortions before becoming pro-life. "You’re watching an abortion. It’s an accurate view of what’s happening. It’s disturbing if you recognize it’s a human life."
"We have three scenes in the film which directly address abortion, and the MPAA objected to all three," said writer/director Cary Solomon. "They specifically made mention of objection to grainy, black and white sonogram images that were part of one of the scenes. It was clear that any meaningful treatment of the issue was going to be objectionable."
Abortion is violence
However, the film's creators said the rating is revealing of what abortion actually is. "Unplanned is an ‘R’ rated film which has no MPAA cautions for profanity, nudity, sex or violence… except for violence directly associated with the abortion process," said Cary Solomon and co-director Chuck Konzelman."Ironically, the MPAA seems to be indirectly endorsing the pro-life position: namely that abortion is an act of violence."
Teenagers having abortion without parental consent
They continued, "even more ironically, as a result of the MPAA’s decision to give us a ‘Restricted’ rating, many teenage women in this country who can legally obtain an actual abortion without parental permission will be prohibited from going to see our film containing simulated images of abortion, without obtaining parental permission."
The question of parental permission for underage girls to have abortions has also been brought up in the UK in recent weeks, after a character on Coronation Street had a secret abortion. Many viewers questioned the "plot hole" of a 14 year old girl having a surgical abortion without her parents consent or knowledge. Fans of the soap were shocked that she could make such a devastating life-changing decision, as well as undergo invasive surgery, without her parents' consent. However, this is perfectly legal in the UK.
The filmmakers have refused to remove the abortion scenes to have the rating changed, and Unplanned is due to be released in US cinemas on 29 March.
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