The actress who plays Abby was nearly not around to play the part, due to her own mother's almost abortion.
The recently-released anti-abortion movie Unplanned, is well made but difficult to watch. It tells the true story of Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, who went from passionate pro-choicer, who had had two abortions herself, to convinced pro-lifer, after watching on ultrasound as a baby struggled against a suction tube for its life.
But the actress who plays Abby, Ashley Bratcher, was nearly not around to play the part, due to her own mother's almost abortion.
Ashley was astonished to learn while filming that her mother had changed her mind at the last minute and chosen to get down off the abortion table and keep her baby.
"I don't really know how to describe it other than shock," Ashley said of her initial reaction to the revelation. "I was not mad or angry, I wasn't sad. It's kind of like having a near-death experience. I just thought about everything I had the chance to do here on earth. I thought about all my relationships, my husband, my son, literally everything in my life flashed before my eyes because I was almost minutes from never having the opportunity to live."
Ashley had already been inspired on the abortion issue thanks to reading Abby's story, but getting news of her own personal connection to it made things all the more real.
Ashley could understand her mum's point of view though, since she was also tempted to have an abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
"A couple of weeks after a major depressive episode, I had quit acting because I was just failing in New York. I came back to my hometown and tryed to re-connect with my high school sweetheart. I ended up getting pregnant. I had my own unplanned pregnancy," Bratcher says before a momentary pause.
"I was a holiday Christian. My parents went on Easter and Christmas," she confesses. "But the real thing that I think grounded me in is that I had three really faithful, strong, praying grandmas.
"They instilled this God-awareness in me, and they planted seeds that just hadn't taken root until I was much, much older. I knew who God was even if I was choosing to rebel against what He wanted for my life. There were times I was crying out saying, 'Okay, God why am I here?'"
When Ashley's son was born she suddenly understood God's love.
"I looked at him and for the first time, I understood relationship versus religion. I had always thought Christianity was a checklist, a set of rules, you have to do this and this is how you can be a Christian. And I never understood it was really about a relationship where you have a conversation with God where you love God and you do things out of respect because of that relationship that you have with God through Jesus Christ. And when I saw my son and I loved him so much I thought, 'Wow! God must really love us so much more if I can love this tiny little person this much'. That was the awakening that deepened my faith."
Apart from just caring about the life of unborn babies, Ashley wanted to do something practical for young mothers tempted to abort. She has recently launched the Unplanned Movie Scholarship program to help young women stay in school while carrying their babies to full term.•
The Unplanned movie is available on download and DVD, and Abby Johnson's book by the same name is available on book sites.
Quotes in this story from an interview Ashly Bratcher did with Faithwire.com