Unplanned is based on Johnson's 2012 book of the same name. Johnson quit her job at Planned Parenthood in October of 2009, one year after being named employee of the year, after she had been asked to assist with a late-term abortion.
In the film, multiple scenes depicting an abortion clinic involve blood or post-abortive women. The directors told CNA that the MPAA objected in particular to a scene that depicts Johnson bleeding on a bathroom floor after taking an abortion pill.
The directors said they would not change that particular scene, or anything else in the film, as they felt it would be disrespectful to Johnson's personal story.
"We're not going to change it. It's a true-life story. To change it just to appease the MPAA or a Hollywood entity is not going to happen. We told the true-life story of Abby Johnson, and these are the things that are happening," said Konzelman.
Solomon told CNA that in real life, Johnson nearly bled to death in her bathroom after self-administering the second drug in an abortion drug protocol.
"For us to avoid that, for the sake of appeasing the MPAA, would make the story untrue," said Solomon.
Even if the filmmakers sought to make changes to get a lower rating, it would be quite difficult as "(the MPAA) pretty much objected to everything, including black and white images of a sonogram," said Konzelman.
To make any changes would require that the filmmakers "gut the entire movie," which they said they did not want to do.
Johnson herself had two abortions prior to her ideological conversion. Since then, she has founded the organization "And Then There Were None," which seeks to assist abortion industry workers with finding new jobs outside the industry. Since the group was founded, nearly 500 clinic workers have left the industry.
After Johnson left her job at Planned Parenthood, she converted to Catholicism. She and her husband are now expecting their eighth child.
"Unplanned" stars Ashley Bratcher as Abby Johnson. During filming, Bratcher discovered that her own mother had planned on having an abortion when she was pregnant with her, but changed her mind minutes before the procedure was to begin.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
"Unplanned" was written and directed by Konzelman and Solomon, who also wrote "God's Not Dead" and "God's Not Dead 2." The movie was partially funded by Michael Lindell, a born-again Christian and the founder of the company MyPillow.
"Unplanned" is the first-ever R-rated film distributed by PureFlix, and will be released in theaters nationwide on March 29.
Christine Rousselle is a former DC Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. Prior to working at CNA, she was the managing web editor of Townhall.com; she has a BA in political science from Providence College.