abby johnson,

Is Unplanned Propaganda?

July 30, 2019 Rachel Rowbottom 0 Comments

    Is Unplanned a 'propaganda' film based on lies and misinformation? It's a question that has been taking the internet by storm, and unanimously answered by the pro-choice community - YES! Even people who have never seen the film are quick to echo their disdain for the 'propaganda' film. I watched this film last week, and I wanted to address some of the concerns and give my honest opinion. There may be some small spoilers – including what Abbsaw.

    The biggest controversy fuelling the hate against Unplanned is whether or not Abby Johnson was present in an abortion of a 13-week old baby on the date of September 23rd 2009, and whether or not her conversion was based on a moral struggle or an opportunistic move to get back at her employers.

   Neither of these things are my biggest concern, and they shouldn't be yours either.

   Do I care whether Abby Johnson is lying about her motives? Of course, it is wrong and hypocritical to lie. If you don't believe that lying is morally wrong, you should have no problem with this. Abby is the only one who knows her motives, and we will have to either take her word for it or believe the words of someone else who can never know her thoughts. Abby Johnson has shown sincere signs that she is pro-life, cares about babies in the womb, and is not doing this for the money. 

   But does her motive make Unplanned misinformation propaganda? No. If you choose to believe that Abby is still secretly pro-choice and doing this all to get back at past employers, it doesn't change what she says she saw, or the intimate look at abortion that this film gives.

    The actual abortion is the selling point of this film. Did Abby Johnson assist in the abortion of a 13-week old baby in September 2009? You can read her response to the controversy here. Again, will we ever have enough proof to convince everyone that this happened? No. Large corporations that make money from a service they sell, have been known time and time again to lie when caught in a controversy - whatever industry they're in. A quick google search will reveal the many times this has happened.

Planned Parenthood performs 332,757 abortions a year according to their data, and they are profiting from that. If you think that they would willingly admit that Abby Johnson saw a baby fighting for its life, you need to do some reading up. Planned Parenthood has been caught in a large number of scandals which they have covered up - from failing to report sexual abuse and trafficking, to selling baby parts and then claiming they never did. Abby was not allowed to take any records from the clinic with her when she left, so of course, she would not have them to confirm her story. It also makes perfect sense that PP would either not release the data for that abortion, or cover up those records to avoid controversy and loss of profit. 

   Either way, I still don't think these are the big questions to be asking. We can argue back and forth about the legitimacy about Abby’s story, and get nowhere, but is that really the whole point of the movie?

   Here's a more important question. Is what Abby claims to have seen - a 13-week old baby moving away from and reacting to an abortion instrument - possible?

   If it isn't possible, then Abby’s story cannot be true. If it is possible, then although Abby's story could revolutionize the way we view fetal pain, the point is that it happens, not that Abby is a hero. If it is possible, it would make sense why most articles trying to debunk Abby's story don't mention or try to debunk what happened in the abortion, but rather deny there was such an abortion. If it is possible it would make sense why PP sued Abby on confidentiality grounds after she quit her job, and it would make sense that this film would be labelled as propaganda by the pro-choice crowd. 

The technique being used is to distract people and move the focus away from the point of the film, and down the rabbit hole of Planned Parenthood vs Abby Johnson. Just as the pro-choice slogan “my body my choice” removes focus from the fact that we’re talking about a separate human being with its own body, the pro-choice backlash about Abby’s trustworthiness is removing focus from the whole point of her story – babies in the womb feel pain! 

    Let's look at the facts of fetal development.

  Can a 13-week old fetus move? This is the first question we need to ask.

13-week old baby

  According to Baby Centre (a pro-choice pregnancy site) with reputable sources - a baby begins moving at 8 weeks. By the 11th week, babies are kicking, stretching, and hiccupping. By the 12th week, a baby has reflexes and can curl their toes, open their fingers, and make sucking motions with its mouth. A baby can also feel if you gently poke your tummy. Movement cannot be felt by the mother until around 16 weeks, as at 13 weeks a baby is only the size of a pea pod.

On the website of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, a study can be found on fetal mobility. Data has shown that babies begin general movement at 8 weeks, as well as startling. Hiccuping, isolated limb movement, and sucking and swallowing all begin at 9 weeks. At 10 weeks, breathing movement, stretching, hand-face contact, jaw opening, head retroflexion, and head anteflexion all begin. At 11 weeks yawning begins, and at 14 weeks eye movement.

"startles and hiccups occur frequently during the first trimester, which led to descriptions such as those mentioned by Reinold25 (fluctuating movements at 8–12 weeks, strong and sudden movements at 13–16 "

Thumb sucking begins at 9 weeks, and increase and show a preference for either right or left hands from 15 weeks on. 

   So, can a baby at 13 weeks old react to and move away from an abortion instrument? Absolutely. The part of a baby's brain that controls movement will not fully form until late in the second trimester. Even at birth, control of movement is limited, and purposeful voluntary movements continue developing up until puberty. However, one would never argue that a newborn or seven-year-old cannot move just because they are not fully developed. There is clear proof that babies in the womb move. 

  Now, can a baby feel pain, or would it be a simple reflex that caused it to move away?

   Let me ask you something. Why do babies suck their thumbs? As a reflex? No. Because they like the sensation that they feel. If a baby is sucking its thumb, it is feeling. If a baby can feel you poking your tummy at 12 weeks, it absolutely can feel a device that is suctioning it apart. 

  Touch is the first sense to form in the womb. Sensory receptors develop on the face and have spread greatly by 13 weeks. Babies in the womb absolutely can feel. The question that is widely debated is how that feeling presents itself - is it pain, or is it just a sensation of touch? 

   "Important neurobiological developments occur at 7, 18, and 26 weeks' gestation and are the proposed periods for when a fetus can feel pain... Free nerve endings, the “alarm buttons,” begin to develop at about seven weeks' gestation; projections from the spinal cord, the major “cable” to the brain, can reach the thalamus (the lower alarm) at seven weeks' gestation. An intact spinothalamic projection might be viewed as the minimal necessary anatomical architecture to support pain processing, putting the lower limit for the experience of pain at seven weeks' gestation.

  The first projections from the thalamus to cortex (the higher alarm) appear at 12-16 weeks' gestation. By this stage the brain's outer layer has split into an outer cortical rim, with a subplate developing below. The thalamic projections that develop from 12-16 weeks penetrate the subplate. Within the subplate, cortical afferents establish prolonged synaptic contacts before entering the cortical plate. The subplate is a “waiting compartment,” required for mature connections in the cortex... The neuroanatomical system for pain can be considered complete by 26 weeks' gestation" {source}

   All this sounds very complicated. No one is exactly sure when a fetus can feel pain. Some argue that there must be consciousness in order for someone to fully feel pain. Some argue that there has to be experience with outside the womb interaction. 

   Science doesn't have a clear answer. Most pro-life scientists and doctors say they can feel pain, most pro-choice scientists and doctors say they can't. We do know that sensory receptors have developed over much of the baby's body by 13 weeks. We do know that nerve endings begin to develop at 7 weeks, we know that projections from the spinal cord can reach the thalamus of the brain at 7 weeks. We know that projections from the thalamus to cortex of the brain appear at 12 weeks, and the subplot which is required for "mature connections" is already developing. We know that by 18 weeks a baby in the womb elicits stress responses to painful stimulation. We won't know for sure whether fetus feels pain the same way we do until science advances, but we know that it can feel something, and react to what they are feeling.

   Whether Abby Johnson witnessed that critical abortion or not, we know that babies at 13 weeks can move away from an abortion suction device, have a sense of touch, and can feel something.
   Even if you choose to believe that Abby Johnson did not witness that abortion, I still highly recommend that you go see the film. Whatever your views on the legitimacy of Abby's story, it is based on something very real that is happening to unborn babies around the world. 

Article Contributed by a member of Shuswap Pro-Life Society 

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