Grace Matubis, a parishioner at St. Thomas Aquinas in Flatlands, has never had a child of her own. “I love children and want to know everything about them,” she told The Tablet. “I would never want to kill my own baby.”
Matubis heard about a free private screening of the pro-life movie, “Unplanned,” from her pastor, Father Dwayne Davis, who was giving away tickets. She had been looking forward to seeing the film, which came out in March, and jumped on the opportunity with a friend from church.
“Unplanned” tells the story of how Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director in Texas, became a pro-life advocate. Johnson was the subject of national news in 2009 when she quit her job to join 40 Days for Life, prompting a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood. The film was based on Johnson’s book about her journey and was directed by Cary Soloman and Chuck Konzelman, co-producers of “God’s Not Dead,” a 2014 Christian drama that was a surprise hit at the box office.
At least 200 youth and young adults from several parishes, including St. Thomas Aquinas, Flatlands; St. Frances Cabrini, Bensonhurst; Most Precious Blood, Bath Beach; and Sts. Simon and Jude, Gravesend attended the screening May 11 at the United Artists Sheepshead Bay 14 theater. The screening was sponsored by the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Office of Marriage, Family Formation and Respect Life Education.
“Bishop DiMarzio wanted the target audience to be youth and young adults,” said Christian Rada, director of the office. “It was our turn following an earlier screening at the Archdiocese of New York, as well as the recent passage of the Reproductive Health Act [New York state’s new expansive abortion law].”
After watching the film, Matubis said she was “horrified” by the explicit abortion scene shown in the movie. For Johnson, witnessing that abortion was the final straw. It convinced her to leave Planned Parenthood.
“Watching Abby’s reaction to seeing how the baby was killed … I actually cried,” Matubis said. “We really need to keep showing this film, especially to reach young people who think having an abortion is normal okay. If every Catholic high school and university and diocese organized a screening [of “Unplanned”], we could spread the truth and mobilize the pro-life movement.”
One young adult, Nicole Soquel, a parishioner at St. Frances Cabrini in Bensonhurst, recommended the film. “I think the point you believe it’s okay to have sex is the point you can, and should, go see this movie,” she said.
Rada noted that “Unplanned,” which is rated-R, “visually shows that life begins at conception, and even if a person is pro-choice, they can have a conversion experience.”
“Abby Johnson had this experience, because she witnessed it firsthand. It’s one tool that can really educate our young people, so they can make decisions on their own about what is morally right, and this is one way we can give back important information and truth that the general media doesn’t really talk about,” Rada said.
“I thought that the office’s responsibility to provide this opportunity for young people and adults to see and talk about issues like abortion and being pro-life. The screening provides a platform for conversation, and that conversation can change everything.”
Another free screening of “Unscreened” sponsored by the diocese will take place at the AMC in Fresh Meadows on May 15.