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Have you seen Unplanned?
I have always been pro-life so this movie didn’t ‘change my mind’ on anything, however it definitely still left my mind processing for many days. I ended up also pulling up on YouTube some interviews and speeches by Abby Johnson to give a few more details on her story that weren’t included in the movie.
Another thing I have always been against (at least, as long as I knew anything about it) is the circumcision of baby boys. I can see that it is painful, unnecessary, and causes loss of a healthy body part, complications and sometimes death.
I will state the obvious: the issue of abortion and issue of circumcision have significant differences. However, I would like to look at some of the takeaways that swirled in my brain after seeing Unplanned and see if some of the ideas and messages portrayed in Unplanned are also applicable to the issue of infant circumcision.
What patterns seen in the movie Unplanned are also true about the circumcision industry?
Did you know that infant circumcision is also big business? Click here to learn about the creepy connection between neonatal circumcision and money. In countries where medical care is not-for-profit, such as Europe, circumcision is almost non-existent.
Meanwhile, in the US:
“I have some good friends who are obstetricians outside the military, and they look at a foreskin and almost see a $125 price tag on it. Each one is that much money. Heck, if you do 10 a week, that’s over $1,000 a week, and they don’t take that much time.” – Dr.Thomas Wiswell
How many parents have decided to go ahead and circumcise their child after hearing someone persuade them with clever sales techniques?
“So…I see he hasn’t had his circumcision yet…”
“We can fit him in for that tomorrow morning!”
“If you get it done now in the hospital, your insurance will pay for it…”
“Don’t worry, we do it all the time!”
“All we have left to do is his circumcision and then you all can go home!”
It’s little things like this that push some parents to get it done. They’re pressured into thinking that delaying or waiting is going to cost them, when the reality is that if they never get it done, they never have to pay for it, deal with wound care, or explain to their son why he’s missing part of his privates.
It’s the same sales techniques used in other industries.
Have you ever bought a car? Were you offered a whole line of additional warranties and amenities? Did you bite the bullet on them, only to find out years later that they weren’t of any help to you?
Have you ever been out to eat and been asked by the waiter if you want to add a soup or salad, and you end up doing it, even though you’re not really *that* hungry? Have you ever gotten a refill on a beverage that you neither wanted nor needed?
Do you want fries with that? It’s only 39 cents more to super-size that…
Have you ever been offered the next highest-priced model of an appliance or other technology that had extra features that you didn’t care about or intend on using, but you bit on the ‘deal’–hook, line, and sinker?
These are textbook sales techniques. To claim they don’t happen in the Labor and Delivery Ward is, frankly, naïve.
Additionally, there are many stories of moms being asked to sign paperwork they didn’t understand when they were under heavy pain medication, sleep deprivation, or other inopportune times. How can the hospital claim that they did their due diligence in attaining that signature with fully informed consent? It certainly looks a lot more like coercion to me.
2. While this was, I believe, only alluded to in the film, Abby Johnson has spoken out that she regularly saw safety pushed to the wayside for the sake of speed (time=money, after all…) while she was working at Planned Parenthood. For example, the ultrasound-guided abortion that was the catalyst for her leaving her job, was performed by a doctor who always did them that way because it was safer–there was less risk of perforating the uterus. However, this safer procedure was not standard at her clinic because it added another 3-5 minutes to the procedure.
Similarly, circumcisions are often performed on baby boys assembly-line style: multiple boys are lined up, and the doctor (or, many times, a novice medical student on rotation) goes down the line and cuts them one by one. Many times the babies do not receive adequate pain medicine, and since there is no dotted line, sometimes a boy has too much skin taken off. Once it’s done, though, it’s done. That boy must now live with the consequences of that one slice for the rest of his life.
This has long-lasting effects that sometimes don’t present themselves until puberty or adulthood.
Many nurses are instructed to wait until the babies stop crying or whimpering and pass out, then they are taken back to their parents, who are told things like “he did great!” or “he didn’t cry at all!” These boys are hours old. How can they begin to “take it like a champ?”
3. Another main message of the film Unplanned was that of compassion for those who had either had an abortion, or participated in the abortion industry, who believed they were helping women and were blind to the hurt and death that was happening. The pro-life advocates who Abby turned to when she decided to leave had showed compassion to her through the whole story.
4. And finally, the movie Unplanned is about forgiveness. Abby feels a crushing weight of guilt over the 22,000 abortions that happened ‘under her watch’ while she directed the clinic. Her husband assures her that God can forgive her.
Forgiveness for everyone
We have all sinned. As a traditional Christian prayer of confession says: ‘we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.‘
Maybe you sinned in not standing up for your son when you knew or suspected circumcision would hurt or harm him.
Maybe you were or are involved in the circumcision industry, believing yourself to be helping others, but are just now learning that circumcision harms.
Maybe your sin is a lack of compassion for those that chose circumcision, a lack of compassion that drives people away from a message that should be hopeful.
There is forgiveness for your sin. And though we’ll not ever be sinless in this life, Christ gives us power to fight against the temptation to continue or repeat our sins.