Planned Parenthood Goes to Hollywood
The group is winning in L.A., even as it’s losing in D.C. Can entertainment ultimately make a difference in the abortion wars?
Story by Nora Caplan-Bricker
September 23, 2019
It’s 10 a.m. on a Tuesday at Planned Parenthood’s New York headquarters, and I’m watching TV. Specifically, I’m watching a series of scenes clipped from movies and TV shows, all of which have two things in common: The woman beside me, Caren Spruch, had a hand in them, and each one features an abortion.
Spruch and I began our viewing session with her most recent such project, the Hulu series “Shrill.” Now, seated at a table in a white-walled conference room, we’re watching the first movie she worked on, 2014’s “Obvious Child.” Spruch is petite and animated, with a long face and dark bangs, like a more pixie-ish Anjelica Huston. She calls “Obvious Child” — a romantic comedy about an unemployed 20-something who finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand — “the one that changed the world,” setting a new standard for stories about abortion. She has seen it, she estimates, more than 25 times.
Shock, Gore, and More: ‘Unplanned’ Recycles Timeworn Tropes of Anti-Choice Films
Anti-abortion films spread misinformation and build a world that is distinctly white, Christian, and conservative.
Apr 5, 2019
Steph Herold & Gretchen Sisson
The anti-abortion film Unplanned quietly snuck into fourth place at the box office last weekend, grossing more than $6 million and drawing claims that it will be anti-abortion advocates’ Schindler’s List: “We are the hope, and this movie is our battle cry,” said one.
Unplanned is based on the memoir of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned anti-abortion activist. Johnson claims she had a change of heart after witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion and abruptly quit her job; others have consistently challenged Johnson’s account of events. Regardless, the movie takes Johnson’s conversion as true, holding her up as the relatable, redemptive heroine.