Ashley Bratcher on What Pro-Life Means to Her

By Catherine Yang
Originally published and updated September 11, 2019 in the Epoch Times

Actress Ashley Bratcher had no idea who Abby Johnson was. The role came to her in a completely unorthodox way.

One day, Bratcher received a comment from an Instagram stranger who told her she would be perfect for this part.

“She said, ‘Ashley, I have been praying for you for about this year, and God is telling me that you’re meant to play this role.’” 

Bratcher thanked her, and then ignored it, because it sounded crazy.

“It was the strangest thing,” Bratcher said.

But a while later, the commenter came back around, and told Bratcher she was really meant for this role, and if she could just please take a look.

She relented, and agreed to look at a few pages of the script.

Abby Johnson was funny, witty, and charismatic. From the pages Bratcher had, she had no idea it was the story of a woman who was responsible for 22,000 abortions, and who would do a complete 180 on her position.

Bratcher auditioned for the part.

“I learned that she was a real person, and after the audition, I thought that the character was really cool,” Bratcher said. “So I wanted to look her up and see what she was like in real life.”

“And it was then I heard her testimony for the first time, about what she saw, and what happens during the abortion procedure,” Bratcher said. It hit her, emotionally and spiritually. “I was absolutely floored.”

Ashley Bratcher in “Unplanned.” (Unplanned Movie)

“I knew that this was something that I wanted to be part of, and I wanted to make sure the world heard the story,” Bratcher said. “From that point on, I was really all in, and ready to just take on the role.”

Unplanned

Abby Johnson is a former Planned Parenthood clinic director; she’d worked for the organization for eight years and in that time rose to employee of the year. Later that year, in 2009, Johnson quit.

Not only did she quit, but she turned to a pro-life organization because they were the only people who understood. And then she spoke out about what she had seen, shocking millions with the truth of abortion.

Johnson had been with the organization, recommending abortions to women, for eight years before she had ever seen the abortion procedure take place via ultrasound, because Planned Parenthood didn’t do it that way. It was only when she was asked to assist an outside doctor with a procedure that she saw it take place—and learned it was common that the baby, still a fetus, would jump away from the abortion instruments, before being dismembered and suctioned out.

It turned her worldview upside-down, and was the final nail in the coffin. In press conferences and talks around the country, she exposed Planned Parenthood as an abortion-driven business, aiming to increase their sales, rather than a health provider as it claimed to be. She’s written her story down in the memoir “Unplanned,” and the film “Unplanned” came out earlier this year.

Abby Johnson. (Abby Johnson)

Today she also runs the ministry And Then There Were None, which supports abortion workers who want to transition to other careers.

Johnson and Bratcher didn’t meet until halfway through production, but they talked on the phone and texted constantly and became fast friends.

It was an intense seven weeks of filming.

“I was cast and I had a four-hour notice to get on a plane,” Bratcher said. She had a hundred pages of lines and appeared in nearly every scene of the movie, and she dove right in.

Ashley Bratcher in “Unplanned.” (Unplanned Movie)

Before “Unplanned” Bratcher’s stance on abortion was a common one in the current cultural climate. She personally didn’t want to get an abortion, but didn’t want to stand in the way of women who felt they needed one.

“I wasn’t really familiar with the pro-life movement,” Bratcher said. But in the few days she had to prepare for the role, she was researching non-stop. She watched all sorts of videos and talks, and heard Johnson’s story for the first time, reducing Bratcher to tears.

“It was a lot,” Bratcher said. “It was probably the biggest undertaking I’ve ever had as an actor.”

In the film “Unplanned,” actress Ashley Bratcher plays Abby Johnson, a clinic director at a Planned Parenthood located next door to a religious pro-life charity named 40 Days for Life. Johnson’s encounters with the organization’s prayer group members ends up changing her life. (Courtesy of Unplanned)

The “Unplanned” story put a face on the victim. “Knowing that and seeing that in my research just really blew my mind—to think that I’m my age and I had never known what really happened,” she said.

Another twist in Bratcher’s own story occurred while filming was underway. It was on set when she learned that she was almost aborted herself.

Bratcher had already known her mother had an abortion at age 16, and wanted to share this story she was working on as it was about mercy and forgiveness. But as she was describing the story, her mother broke down in tears, and told Bratcher that when she was 19, and pregnant with Bratcher, she had decided to get an abortion. She was on the clinic table before she had this gut feeling she couldn’t go through with it, last minute, and left.

Bratcher told Fox & Friends she later confirmed the story with her father, who told her that they didn’t think they could afford a child, and couldn’t even afford the abortion. To pay for the abortion, he had pawned a family shotgun—that was the price of her life.

Bratcher is often asked whether she was worried the film would negatively impact her career. Twitter had suspended the film’s Twitter account and revoked its ads, and a number of television networks refused to run its advertisements. The filmmakers have protested the R rating given to the film, which prevents minors from seeing it. But Bratcher says she is fearless, because she knows where she stands.

Despite efforts to limit the distribution of the film, “Unplanned” hit No. 1 in DVD sales on Amazon and received rave audience reviews.

Selfless Love

Bratcher got into acting almost by accident. In her last year at college, she needed to take an elective and chose an acting class on a whim, since she had fun in theater classes in high school.

“It kind of ignited that fire inside of me,” Bratcher said. On stage, she had escaped. She wasn’t Ashley Bratcher, whose mortgage was due and had to go grocery shopping later. She got to tell someone’s story.

Then, out on a date with her high school sweetheart—now husband—at the North Carolina State Fair, she saw a big booth with a sign: “Do you want to be an actor?”

Bratcher signed up, and auditioned for a local commercial—and got the part. From there an agent took her to New York, where she auditioned for a hundred managers and agents, and received over 20 offers.

“It just made me realize, ‘Oh, wow, I can actually do this,’” Bratcher said.

But at the time, it was driven by a desire for fame, and Bratcher, who is competitive by nature to begin with, said she had more or less been living with a selfish mindset. Life was about what she wanted, and what she could get out of it. She moved to New York and lived an emotionally and spiritually exhausted life battling rejection. One acting workshop planted some positive seeds, when she was tasked to write a letter to herself.

She had to write down why she decided to become an actor, and what it meant to her, and what sort of impact she wanted to have with her career.

“That was the first time where I said, ‘I do have a serious, legitimate reason for wanting to be a part of this,” Bratcher said. “From that moment on, I always took that letter to heart.”

“In the last couple of years … I have been able to be a part of stories that I feel give people a sense of hope,” Bratcher said. “I wanted to be part of telling really good stories that did something good for people on the inside.”

Much of this is rooted in Bratcher’s faith, which hadn’t been a big part of her life until she became a mother herself.

“I had my own unplanned pregnancy,” Bratcher said. She had just started acting, with few results, and her husband had graduated college and had a job, but neither really had a career.

“I had to be on government assistance. I had Medicaid, I used WIC; we just couldn’t afford it,” Bratcher said. “But at the same time, we were figuring out ways to solve that problem. And I totally believe in government assistance when it picks people up and gets them on their feet. I think when it’s used appropriately, it empowers people to get back up and do what they need.”

Bratcher needed it for a little over a year, and it helped put her on the right track.

“Having my son, first and foremost, deepened by faith. I looked at this tiny little person, and I just could see nothing but the love of God,” Bratcher said. “I couldn’t imagine loving him so much. And it just clicked with me that if I love him so much, how much more God must love me to be able to hold this little baby in my arms and feel this incredible amount of love.”

It changed her whole outlook on life.

“The most important thing I learned from my son was what it meant to love selflessly—because I had been so selfish in the past,” Bratcher said. At the root of all her choices was pleasing herself; other people weren’t even a consideration. But the moment she understood selfless love, she realized what a shallow life she had been living.

“I had experienced a love that I feel like we’re on this planet to experience. I had felt, for the first time, this very pure and selfless love,” Bratcher said.

“That was a huge spiritual awakening for me,” she said. “After I had him, and I got back into the film industry, I had this sense of faith and identity.”

“I wasn’t looking to anyone for validation, I didn’t need to book a role to feel like I was going to be successful, I didn’t need anyone’s approval to know what my worth was,” she said. “It is critical for me to make sure that I am digging into my faith.”

Bratcher initially never wanted children, didn’t want to be responsible for another life and forego all the travels and experiences and the career she dreamed of. Now she has all of those things, and her son as well.

Bratcher attends the Save the Storks 2nd Annual Charity Ball at the Trump International Hotel on Jan. 17 in Washington. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Save the Storks)

And “Unplanned,” far from ending her career, has opened up avenues for Bratcher to help make a positive impact. She’s done two TV shows and is the lead in a romantic comedy where the proceeds of the film will go towards charity. She recently partnered with Heartbeat International to launch the Unplanned Movie Scholarship to help moms with unplanned pregnancies with educational scholarships.

“A lot of times women choose to have abortions because they don’t have the support that they need or want or desire,” Bratcher said. “They’re told if they have kids they can’t be successful, they can’t finish school, all of these things.”

She wanted to provide an option to solve the problem, such as the scholarship fund that would give mothers financial means to finish their education, and partner with an organization with resources and expertise. Heartbeat International has 3,000 pregnancy health centers and provides everything from parenting classes to formula and childcare.

“I wanted to make sure that I was using my voice in a way that was loud enough to say ‘yes, you can’, and actually do something about it,” Bratcher said.

Life Chain 2019

Sunday, October 6, 2019 | 2:30-3:30 PM
Pick up signs at First Baptist Church (at the intersection of Taylor St. & Washington St.)

Stand with thousands of pro-life individuals throughout the USA and Canada in honor of millions of babies whose lives have been lost to abortion. Pray for people in crisis situations and for our nations. You’ll be a light in a darkened world as you help put an end to abortion through prayer!

  • Signs will be available for pick-up at 2:00 PM at First Baptist Church of Kokomo at the northwest corner of Taylor St. and Washington St.
  • The event begins at 2:30 and ends at 3:30 PM.
  • We will be forming a cross by lining up on the North/South Street Washington Blvd. between Markland & North Streets and the East/West street Jefferson Ave., between Indiana Ave. & Apperson Way.
  • This year we are inviting church leaders as well as individuals to go to our Facebook page and choose a spot on the cross to stand. Tell us the location you have chosen. We are praying that this will be the year that the city of Kokomo will see the longest LIFE CHAIN ever!
  • We will stand with our pro-life signs while we pray silently for our country, our leaders, those who drive by, for women and men who have or will in the future be making a “life decision” and for the pro-life cause.
  • After 3:30PM, please return the signs to the person at First Baptist Church (at Taylor St. & Washington St.), or to Bible Baptist Church, 2635 S. Dixon Road.
  • If you have any questions, please call (765) 210-9367.
  • We hope you will establish a sign-up sheet for your parishioners as well as frequently giving out reminders to friends, family members and neighbors to further encourage their involvement in this very important national event. Each year we are encouraged by the increasing number of motorists and pedestrians who honk or show a thumbs up in solidarity with our message. This is a chance for the church of Christ to stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Will you stand with us?

To learn more, visit Howard County Right to Life on Facebook or email howardcortl@gmail.com. You can select a designated spot to stand by viewing the cross in our Facebook post.  Just select the spot you want for your church/organization/business and reply with a comment telling us your choice. We will post your group on our Facebook page within 24 hours.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

Barbara
Life Chain Coordinator
(765) 210-9367

or

Melanie
HCRTL Marketing
(765) 455-8665

Life Chain 2019

Sunday, October 6, 2019 | 2:30-3:30 PM
Pick up signs at First Baptist Church (at the intersection of Taylor St. & Washington St.)

Stand with thousands of pro-life individuals throughout the USA and Canada in honor of millions of babies whose lives have been lost to abortion. Pray for people in crisis situations and for our nations. You’ll be a light in a darkened world as you help put an end to abortion through prayer!

  • Signs will be available for pick-up at 2:00 PM at First Baptist Church of Kokomo at the northwest corner of Taylor St. and Washington St.
  • The event begins at 2:30 and ends at 3:30 PM.
  • We will be forming a cross by lining up on the North/South Street Washington Blvd. between Markland & North Streets and the East/West street Jefferson Ave., between Indiana Ave. & Apperson Way.
  • This year we are inviting church leaders as well as individuals to go to our Facebook page and choose a spot on the cross to stand. Tell us the location you have chosen. We are praying that this will be the year that the city of Kokomo will see the longest LIFE CHAIN ever!
  • We will stand with our pro-life signs while we pray silently for our country, our leaders, those who drive by, for women and men who have or will in the future be making a “life decision” and for the pro-life cause.
  • After 3:30PM, please return the signs to the person at First Baptist Church (at Taylor St. & Washington St.), or to Bible Baptist Church, 2635 S. Dixon Road.
  • If you have any questions, please call (765) 210-9367.
  • We hope you will establish a sign-up sheet for your parishioners as well as frequently giving out reminders to friends, family members and neighbors to further encourage their involvement in this very important national event. Each year we are encouraged by the increasing number of motorists and pedestrians who honk or show a thumbs up in solidarity with our message. This is a chance for the church of Christ to stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Will you stand with us?

To learn more, visit Howard County Right to Life on Facebook or email howardcortl@gmail.com. You can select a designated spot to stand by viewing the cross in our Facebook post.  Just select the spot you want for your church/organization/business and reply with a comment telling us your choice. We will post your group on our Facebook page within 24 hours.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

Barbara
Life Chain Coordinator
(765) 210-9367

or

Melanie
HCRTL Marketing
(765) 455-8665   

GOP Senators Introduce Fetal Burial Law after Discovery of 2,246 Abortion Remains in Ulrich Klopfer Garage

By Kimberly Leonard | Originally published September 27, 2019, 09:03 AM in the Washington Examiner

Republican senators have introduced a bill to mandate the burial or cremation of fetal tissue after an abortion in response to the discovery of 2,246 fetal remains in the garage of a deceased abortion doctor.

The bill, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act, is similar to a measure signed into law in Indiana by Vice President Mike Pence when he was governor, which became enforceable this month. The Supreme Court upheld the law this year, though it hasn’t ruled on its merits.

The bill is in response to the news about Dr. Ulrich “George” Klopfer, who was a hoarder and stashed away 20-year-old fetal remains. The remains were discovered this month in medically sealed bags placed into cardboard boxes at his Illinois home. Klopfer provided abortions in Indiana for decades butlost his medical license roughly three years before his death on Sept. 3.

Under the Senate legislation, abortion providers would be required to arrange for the burial or cremation of the remains or otherwise face a fine and up to five years in prison. The woman who has the abortion would be given a consent form that would allow her to choose to retain the tissue or to let the abortion clinic handle it.

The bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, Todd Young of Indiana, Steve Daines of Montana, John Cornyn of Texas, Rick Scott of Florida, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma. They are seeking to add more co-sponsors. Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana is looking at introducing a similar measure on the House side.

“The discovery of thousands of fetal remains in an Indiana abortionist’s home horrified every American who respects the sanctity of life, and highlighted a disturbing trend that Indiana has taken the lead in rectifying,” Braun said in a statement, calling the discovery in Klopfer’s home “grotesque collections.”

The Washington Examiner interviewed Braun at his office Tuesday, and at the time, he said he wasn’t sure how a fetal burial law, or any anti-abortion legislation, could pass Congress given that lawmakers had recently rejected other restrictions on abortion. He said he supported burial laws but didn’t state any intention to introduce a bill, though he said states should move ahead on restrictions and that the Supreme Court would need to take up abortion rights again.

“If we really wanted to get somewhere, the leadership and guidance needs to come from the Supreme Court,” he said.

The Senate, with mostly Democrats opposing, rejected a bill in 2018 that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks and another bill in February clarifying that babies who survive attempted abortions must receive medical care.

After an abortion, providers treat fetal tissue as medical waste to be incinerated, flushed into the sewage system, or discarded in a landfill. Some states want to change that, but few have been successful. A federal judge stuck down a fetal burial law in Texas last year, and an appeal is currently being weighed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Ohio’s state Senate also advanced a fetal burial law in March.

Ernst said that the discovery at Klopfer’s home “serves as a stark reminder that we must protect and defend life.”

“We cannot be a society that tolerates actions like Dr. Klopfer’s, and this bill will ensure the remains of all human beings, in every stage of life, get the dignity and respect they deserve,” she said.

Abortion rights advocates have fought burial and cremation laws in court, arguing that they heap more work on providers, who have to arrange for the services. That makes abortions more expensive, they say, putting the procedure out of reach for low-income patients. They also argue that the laws don’t take the patient’s moral or religious beliefs into consideration and that they would affect women who miscarry, often without knowing it because the symptoms mimic a heavy period.

2019 Living Alternatives Banquet

Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to attend! We will post more information as the time nears.

7PM, Tuesday, September 24th
Kokomo First Church of the Nazarene (2734 S. Washington St., Kokomo)
Special Guest Jennifer O’Neil

Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to attend! We will post more information as the time nears. For more information or to help sponsor the banquet by becoming an underwriter, contact the Pregnancy Resource Center:

hopeforafuture.com kokomo@hopeforafuture.com (765) 454-5566 202 1/2 E. Lincoln Rd. Kokomo, IN 46902

2019 Living Alternatives Banquet

7PM, Tuesday, September 24th
Kokomo First Church of the Nazarene (2734 S. Washington St., Kokomo)
Special Guest Jennifer O’Neil

Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to attend! We will send you more information as the time nears.

For more information or to help sponsor the banquet by becoming an underwriter, contact the Pregnancy Resource Center:

hopeforafuture.com
kokomo@hopeforafuture.com
(765) 454-5566
202 1/2 E. Lincoln Rd.
Kokomo, IN 46902

Deeper Still Abortion Healing Retreat – April 2019

One out of three women will have an abortion. Post-abortion stress/trauma can manifest in a number of ways: regret, grief, shame, sadness, anger, anxiety, relational conflicts, substance abuse, and depression. These are all examples of post-abortion stress. Symptoms can surface soon after the abortion or can manifest many years later. Our Deeper Still post-abortion healing retreats offer hope, healing and freedom from the pain and emotional trauma of a past abortion(s).

A recent participant writes this:

“There are no words to describe the overall experience! I am still experiencing so much freedom, so much joy. I’ve been set free by the grace of God. Bless you all for helping me to find this freedom.”

The next retreat is April 26–28th. Spaces are available for both women and men. For more information, visit the Living Alternatives website to download a registration packet. You can also email laurie@hopeforafuture.com or call (309) 212-1442.

Kokomo Walk 2019

You’re invited to join us for a fun day of celebration for the whole family! There will be lots of door prizes, food, face-painting. We’ve special-ordered beautiful weather and lots of sunshine!

Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 9:00AM to 11:30AM
Highland Park Rodgers Pavilion • 902 W. Defenbaugh St., Kokomo, IN

Walk Schedule
9:30AM – Registration & Breakfast
10:15AM to 12:00PM – Walk

The Pregnancy Resource Center’s Walk is designed for participants to raise their own pledges. There is no entrance fee paid by the participant.

Register today!

Four Easy Steps to Getting Involved

REGISTER EARLY TO HELP US WITH PLANNING

To register fill out the registration form provided in the walker packet or quickly register online. If you need a walker packet you can call or stop by the center.

GET SPONSORS

Have fun and be creative with raising pledges for the walk! All donations are tax deductible since we are a 501c3 organization.

Take advantage of our online fundraising tool, FundEasy! FundEasy gives you the option to set up your own fundraising page which can be shared through email or social media, inviting your friends and family to sponsor you in this year’s Walk for Life. Walkers who raise $50 or more will receive a PRC Walk t-shirt.

Carry a pledge sheet – You will likely have an opportunity to talk to people in person about the PRC.

DOCUMENT YOUR PLEDGES

Be sure to document all pledges indicating the amount given, type of payment, name, address, and phone number of the sponsor. Also please be sure to indicate on the pledge sheet if it has been entered onto your FundEasy page.

WALK!

This is the fun part! Come and walk with others who believe in protecting precious lives. Bring the whole family! Consider asking friends to raise their own pledges and create a fun team to walk with.

Download Pledge Sheets:

For more information, see the Living Alternatives website.

Voiceless Film Hits Indiana Theaters

What would you do if the business across the street from your church was an abortion clinic?

That’s the question Jesse Dean faces in the brand-new film Voiceless.

“I wanted to create a film to challenge the church to get involved in the public square,” says Pat Necerato, the film’s screenwriter and director. He told LifeNews, “I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard Christians, even pastors, say: We need to be saving souls, not so much worried about confronting evil. Those words never really jived well with my theology that Christ is King, He can redeem any aspect of our world, and He has called Christians to be saved and be a part of it. That’s the big picture.”

Pat and his team are taking their message to the street: it’s the first film to be screened on the sidewalk outside the Supreme Court.

Openings have been rippling across the nation ever since. Here’s where you can catch the film in Indiana:

Opened Friday, October 21

  • YES Cinema
    328 Jackson St., Columbus
    Columbus, IN
  • Showplace 11
    4713 National Rd. E.
    Richmond, IN

Opening Friday, October 28

  • Regal Village Pk. Cinema, S17
    2222 E. 146th St.
    Carmel, IN
  • Jasper 8 Theatres
    256 Brucke Strasse
    Jasper, IN

Voiceless and the prolife mobilization ministry Save the Storks are teaming up to help people passionate about life bring the film to their church families.

Learn more at savethstorks.com/voiceless.

Abby Johnson in Indiana

Abby Johnson, an ardent prolife advocate who God delivered from the abortion industry, will be speaking on Wednesday, August 24th at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church (17201 Springmill Rd. Westfield, IN).

Abby will share about her experiences as the director of a Planned Parenthood abortion center, the events that changed her life, and her conversion to a prolife activist. All are welcome to come at 6PM for an hors d’oeuvre reception in the parish hall. The program will begin at 7PM in the church.

There is no charge for admission, but your donation will benefit Great Lakes Gabriel ProjectFor more information on Abby, visit abbyjohnson.org. For event details, visit the church website or call Dave Bangs at (765) 860-6006.

From Abby’s website:

Abby Johnson has always had a fierce determination to help women in need. It was this desire that both led Abby to a career with Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider, and caused her to flee the organization and become an outspoken advocate for the pro-life movement. During her eight years with Planned Parenthood, Abby quickly rose in the organization’s ranks and became a clinic director. She was increasingly disturbed by what she witnessed. Abortion was a product Planned Parenthood was selling, not an unfortunate necessity that they fought to decrease. Still, Abby loved the women that entered her clinic and her fellow workers. Despite a growing unrest within her, she stayed on and strove to serve women in crisis.

All of that changed on September 26, 2009 when Abby was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion.

She watched in horror as a 13 week baby fought, and ultimately lost, its life at the hand of the abortionist.

At that moment, the full realization of what abortion was and what she had dedicated her life to washed over Abby and a dramatic transformation took place. Desperate and confused, Abby sought help from a local pro-life group. She swore that she would begin to advocate for life in the womb and expose abortion for what it truly is.

Planned Parenthood did not take Abby’s exodus sitting down. They are fully aware that the workers who leave are their greatest threat. Instantly, they took action to silence Abby with a gag order and took her to court. The lawsuit was quickly seen as the sham it was and thrown out of court.

The media was, and continues to be, intensely interested in Abby’s story as well as her continued efforts to advocate for the unborn and help clinic workers escape the abortion industry. She is a frequently requested guest on Fox News and a variety of other shows and the author of the nationally best-selling book, Unplanned, which chronicles both her experiences within Planned Parenthood and her dramatic exit.

Today, Abby travels across the globe sharing her story, educating the public on pro-life issues, advocating for the unborn, and reaching out to abortion clinic staff who still work in the industry. She is the founder of And Then There Were None, a ministry designed to assist abortion clinic workers out of the industry. To date, this ministry has helped over 150 workers leave the abortion industry. Abby lives in Texas with her husband and five precious children.

Learn more on Abby’s website and in her book Unplanned!