• Thomas Bonifield

The Prayer Warrior Who Helped Lead to "Unplanned"

Meet the man who prayed for years that God would touch the heart of then-abortion-clinic-director Abby Johnson.

Ashley Bratcher, who plays Abby Johnson, in a scene from "Unplanned."

Unplanned, a pro-life Christian film from the writer/director team of Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, tells the true story of former Planned Parenthood staffer-turned-right-to-life-advocate Abby Johnson. The movie is based on her book by the same name and it charts her transformation.


Shawn Carney, CEO/President of 40 Days for Life. Image from the group's Instagram page.

Someone who watched that journey is Shawn Carney, the president and CEO of a pro-life organization called 40 Days for Life. Based in the same part of Texas as Johnson, he and his wife and colleagues interacted with her over many years and prayed for God to open her eyes and lead her out of the abortion giant. A decade ago, He did just that and Johnson quit Planned Parenthood. When she did, she actually showed up a Carney's door.


In an interview with The Christian Post, he says Johnson's conversion and this movie, in which actor Jarod Lotz plays Carney's character, can seem so hard to believe that it "literally sounds made up," adding it "could only be written by the power of prayer." While some at first doubted her, Carney says he knew Johnson was sincere the moment she arrived at his office in tears.

"I'd never seen her emotionally distraught. When I opened the door and I saw a broken person, I knew something was going on. She needed to know we were there for her."

Carney, despite resistance from some in his circle of aquaintances, helped Abby Johnson find a job and leave the abortion business behind her. In addition to writing her book, she went on to become an outspoken pro-life activist and set up a non-profit called And Then There Were None that helps other abortion workers do what she did: leave the business.


40 Days for Life, thus named because it holds 40-day prayer vigils outside abortion outlets, has grown tremendously since it started in 2004. It now boasts 80,000 volunteers in all 50 states and 56 countries. Carney anticipates this film will make the numbers grow even more and that the group's September prayer campaign will be the largest ever.


As for Unplanned, which stars Christian actress Ashley Bratcher as Johnson, it debuts in 1,000 theaters nationwide this Friday, March 29th.

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