King's University College screening controversial anti-abortion film
LONDON, ONT -- It was a film that brought protestors to the front steps of a major London movie theatre over the summer, and now it's coming to King's University College.
The ministry at King’s will be screening “Unplanned” Thursday, despite the fact the film has been met with criticism and protests since its release in 2019.
“I hope it sends a message to women that we are concerned about unborn children,” says the director of Campus Ministry at King's, Michael Bechard.
The screening of the movie is part of lecture series put on by the campus ministry for the past 20 years that tackles tough and sometimes controversial topics.
“Every year we bring in a number of speakers, activist and people engaged in community work,” says Bechard. “Or we offer movie screenings or different performances that seek to challenge the community to consider difficult topics.”
Co-founder of Pro Choice London, Robyn Schwarz, is speaking out against the school screening the movie.
“For me, with seeing this at King’s, I’ve been really upset because I see it as someone having power on campus choosing to ignore the needs of the rest of the community, both female, male, non-binary, trans and all members of King's student community.”
The film is based on the memoir by Abby Johnson which follows her path from working for Planned Parenthood to becoming an anti-abortion advocate. There are several graphic scenes depicting different methods of abortion that Schwarz says are inaccurate.
“There’s so much fear already floating around that we don’t need a movie floating around that’s designed to portray a procedure in a grotesque, gruesome way that is not how it is. That’s not what getting an abortion in London is like.”
Bechard, who admits he hasn’t seen the film yet, says the ministry hasn’t formally invited anyone from the medical community to be on hand to discuss the accuracy of the film during the post-screening discussion.
He also says he doesn’t believe this event should be portrayed as fear mongering.
“From all the reports I’ve heard it’s actually not all that graphic,” says Bechard. “So anyone who’s seen an issue of Grey's Anatomy or a textbook on the holocaust, things there are a lot more graphic so I hope it’s not a triggering moment for people.”
The film is open to the public and is playing at 7 p.m. at the Joanne and Peter Kenny Theatre. There will be an open discussion following the viewing.
There is also a planned protest against the screening of “Unplanned” at 6:30 p.m. on the sidewalk outside of the theatre.