Approximately 70 people gathered on Wood Street across from the Yukon Cinema Centre to protest the private viewing of the controversial movie Unplanned in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukoners protest pro-life film Unplanned

‘It’s a Christian propaganda film that is disguised as a Hollywood blockbuster’

Roughly 70 people gathered in downtown Whitehorse to protest a controversial film that espouses anti-abortion sentiments.

Unplanned, which aired in Canada earlier this year, was privately screened at the Wood Street theatre on Aug. 21. It’s scheduled to be shown again on Saturday at 10 a.m.

“It’s a Christian propaganda film that is disguised as a Hollywood blockbuster, with the goal of spreading misinformation about what happens in people’s sexual health clinics,” said Sarah Gallagher, the organizer of the protest. “You can’t proselytize when it comes to health care.”

The movie follows the story Abby Johnson who, while working for Planned Parenthood, turns into an anti-abortion activist.

Last month, The Globe and Mail’s film critic, Barry Hertz, blasted it for its fictionalizations, saying that the abortion scene, for instance, is “shot like a horror film.”

“Unplanned is not only a crass right-wing manifesto. It’s also a potentially dangerous call to extremism,” he wrote, going on to say that it “will make you writhe in agony over how such an ugly, malicious and potentially dangerous piece of religious and political propaganda could have made its way into the world.”

It’s been endorsed by Mike Pence, the vice president of the U.S., an evangelical, pro-life Christian.

Linda Thompson, who helped bring the movie controversial movie Unplanned to Whitehorse, poses for a photo in the Yukon Cinema Centre minutes before the first showing of the film on Aug. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Linda Thompson helped bring the movie to Whitehorse.

She said it’s not propaganda because it’s a true story.

“It’s a lovely story and I feel that it deserves to be seen in a public place,” she said.

“I value life. I’m not against these people and their views. I’m not trying to shut them down. I’m just trying to create a way to open a discussion.”

When pressed on why some people may choose to get abortions, Thompson said, “Personally, I don’t agree with it, but I can understand why people do it. This movie is a compassionate movie to all sides of the story.”

Sixty-seven tickets were sold for the mid-afternoon screening on Aug. 21.

Vanessa Klassen bought a movie ticket.

“It’s about time we had some open conversation on abortion or no abortion,” she said. “I think, for the most part, the quiet side has not been heard. Life is a value, a great, great value. There’s potential and miracles inside each and every baby.”

The theatre’s manager declined to comment. Landmark Cinemas, which owns the theatre, didn’t return multiple requests for comment.

Thompson and Klassen received their wishes: screening the movie certainly opened up a discussion.

Lauren Porter attended the protest, which was hosted across the street in the front yard of Molotov and Bricks Tattoo.

Approximately 70 people gathered on Wood Street across from the Yukon Cinema Centre to protest the private viewing of the controversial movie Unplanned in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

She had her seven-month-old son in the crook of her arm when she said, “This is shameful that this is in our community. We should not be taking steps backwards. As a woman and a mother, I fundamentally believe that this is a choice, that we have the right to make our own choices. Nobody has any business telling us what we should or shouldn’t do.”

It was Stephanie Schorr’s first time attending a protest. She said she was “shocked” such a movie was brought to Whitehorse, which she considers a liberal city.

“I had an abortion in my 20s and I’ve had a son in my 30s and both were the right choice at the time. I think it’s important enough that I came down here, just because I’ve had to make both choices and I think everyone should be able to do it. I think it’s important to make a presence.”

Dan Bushnell, co-owner of Molotov and Bricks, said the movie is propaganda.

“How many times do we have to have a debate about something that’s just not a debate? We know that making abortion illegal does not prevent abortion. What it does is make abortion not safe and it kills women,” he said.

The entire point of gathering, he said, is to support a person’s right to choose.

“We’re over here listening to music, eating, laughing and talking. I mean, listen to everybody.

“Listen, you answer anger and hate (with) love and joy.”

All money raised during the protest barbecue will be donated to the Yukon Sexual Health Clinic.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

protest

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read