Massachusetts Republican Assembly Issues Challenge on Anti-Abortion Movie ‘Unplanned’

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The conservative Massachusetts Republican Assembly is challenging supporters of legal abortion to see Unplanned, a movie depicting former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, who became a pro-life activist after seeing a real-time ultrasound image of a fetus while assisting a doctor with an abortion.

The Massachusetts Legislature is considering a bill called the ROE Act that would remove almost all remaining restrictions on abortion in Massachusetts.

Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, and the vast majority of members of the state Legislature support keeping abortion legal and publicly funded, and many would like to expand access to it.

“The Assembly is offering a challenge. We truly believe this film can change hearts and minds. We are challenging Governor Baker and the co-Sponsors of the ROE Act … to see this movie,” said Mary Lou Daxland, president of the Massachusetts Republican Assembly, in a written statement. “You will not feel judged at the end of the film. You are truly in our prayers.”

A spokesman for Governor Baker could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

Brian Kennedy, national director for the Massachusetts Republican Assembly, said the movie provides a realistic and balanced look at abortion clinic workers and anti-abortion activists.

“This is not a film attacking pro-choice people or clinic workers as inhumane or depicting the actions of everyone who opposes abortion as justifiable. The purpose of this film is to inspire dialogue, bear witness to redemption, and offer healing,” Kennedy said in a written statement.

The assembly says it sold out a 195-seat theater in Randolph on Wednesday, March 27, and that a member of the assembly sold out three theaters at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers on Thursday, March 28.

Pro-life activists are trying to stem apparent pro-abortion momentum in Massachusetts.

Abortion supporters in Massachusetts are celebrating the state Legislature’s quick action this week in approving up to $8 million in state funds for the current fiscal year and next for Planned Parenthood and other clinics that currently get federal Title X funds to provide contraception to poor people in case the Trump administration cuts them off in May.

A new rule published in February by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says clinics receiving Title X funds can’t provide abortion referrals and can’t dispense contraceptives at the same site where abortions are performed.

The rule is largely aimed at Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions and abortion counseling at the same clinics where it dispenses contraceptives. Planned Parenthood currently gets about $60 million a year nationwide in Title X funds.

Governor Charlie Baker has said he plans to sign the bill.

The flurry of activity to support Planned Parenthood on Beacon Hill this week pleased NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, which supports abortion:

Meanwhile, pro-life activists are concentrating on the ROE Act, also known as Massachusetts Senate Bill 1209, which would remove most restrictions on abortions after 24 weeks and would remove a requirement that underage girls get consent either from their parents or from a judge in order to get an abortion. It would also remove a current requirement in state law that doctors try to save the life of a baby born after an attempted abortion.

Jim Lyons, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, called the bill pro-infanticide earlier this week.

The bill is before the Joint Committee on Public Health, but a hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Pro-lifers are planning to hold a rally against the ROE Act on Boston Common across from the Massachusetts State House in Boston, at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 30.

The movie Unplanned officially opens nationwide Friday, March 29.

Tickets for Unplanned can be purchased at