• Thomas Bonifield

"Unplanned" Blocked in Canada

Censorship is alive and well north of the border and the pro-life Christian film feels its sting.

Ashley Bratcher & producer Joe Knopp in Ottawa, Canada in April. Image from Bratcher's Instagram page.

Filmmakers behind Unplanned announced that the film will not be shown at theaters in Canada. That is not, however, because there is no interest from moviegoers, but because the country's distributors have rejected the film, refusing to allow the public to see it in what co-writer/director Chuck Konzelman called "de facto censorship."


Unplanned is based on a memoir by prominent right-to-life advocate Abby Johnson. It tracks her transformation from a one-time director of an abortion clinic and uses her insider knowledge to pull back the curtain on the unethical and money-grubbing policies of America's abortion industry.


The movie faced repeated and systematic suppression attempts in the US before its release, as we detailed here, but those attempts failed and the picture has now grossed $18 million on a budget of $6 million. In an effort to get the movie into Canadian theaters, lead actress Ashley Bratcher even took a delegation to Ottawa earlier this year to screen it for parliamentarians. But both of Canada's primary distribution companies have now rejected the film on ideological grounds, according to Konzelman.

"Our project is essentially anathema to them, and they see excluding us from Canada as positive good."

That means the only way to watch the movie in Canada is if it is privately sponsored, which is someting Konzelman said they will actively facilitate. The audience is necessarily going to be smaller that way, though, than it would have been via the traditional theatrical distribution route.


With only a fraction of America's population, the loss of the Canadian market is not much of an issue monetarily. The people behind Unplanned, however, are committed to protecting innocent life and want to make that message heard. With Canada's horrific, full-throttle abortion-on-demand culture, it should come as no surprise that pro-abortion forces there oppose them. As a commenter on one of the film's social media sites remarked, "The darkness fears the light."

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