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10 Movies and Documentaries to Watch to Celebrate Life

Photo by Ana Tablas on Unsplash

In light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding Roe v. Wade, the dialogue surrounding abortions and the value of preborn children is spreading. Films can be powerful tools in exploring these important topics and offering springboards for good conversations. This list is not comprehensive, and many films will not be appropriate for all audiences, but it should have something that would work for any scenario. It is intended to provide options for families or groups to watch together as a start and continuation of these conversations.


See Life 2020 (NR, 2020)

This is Focus on the Family’s own documentary in support for the preborn and to address the tactics of the abortion industry. Hosts Jeanne Mancini (president of the March for Life Education Defense Fund) and former NFL star Benjamin Watson narrate and guide the story, laying out the disturbing ideology behind Margaret Sander’s founding of Planned Parenthood and dispelling false claims about abortion. Some descriptions and images depicting the realities of abortions in this documentary could be difficult to watch, and scenes of conflict over abortion include anger and censored profanity. Still, this passionate production showcases the value of each person created in the image of God and does so with grace and compassion.

The Drop Box (NR, 2015)

The Drop Box is another Focus on the Family documentary, made in association with Kindred Image, which tells the hopeful story of Pastor Lee and his wife in South Korea, where they’re saving unwanted children in revolutionary ways. These two faithful believers started an extraordinary ministry to children with disabilities. After parenting several disabled children, biological and adopted, they created the baby drop box as a last resort for parents who choose to abandon their child. Pastor Lee and his team have cared for more than 350 children with disabilities (as of the movie’s making), showing them the love of God. Lee’s compassion to the unwanted children in his community, especially those with physical disabilities, can inspire Christians to do their part to love children born in difficult situations and their parents.

The Matter of Life (NR, 2022)

This documentary addresses the question of what fundamental difference separates preborn children from the rest of humanity. If human life is protected under the Constitution, what exactly is considered human life? The Matter of Life presents many arguments for the personhood of preborn children, including the opinions of historical feminist icons such as Susan B. Anthony and the experiences of doctors who formerly performed abortions before becoming Pro Life. The video includes mentions of the problem of abortions in the Church and the support that the Church should strive to offer women. That said, parts of the documentary are, frankly, horrifying. Scenes depicting abortion are graphic and gruesome, meant to prove that abortions are graphic and gruesome.

Family Friendly

Horton Hears a Who! (G, 2008)

This animated film is an adaptation of the Dr. Suess children’s book by the same name. Although preborn children are not directly referenced in the film (and the Seuss estate discourages using his works to prop up issues), the theme of fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves is highly relevant to the Roe vs. Wade debate. Horton defends the Whos and affirms that “a person’s a person, no matter how small!” This movie is filled with important messages and shows the unique beauty of each individual in a community.

To Consider for Teens

October Baby (PG-13, 2011)

Hannah Lawson has dealt with immense physical difficulties and emotional pain surrounding her adoption for years, and she finally gets answers in her freshman year of college. Hannah was the victim of a failed abortion, and the film portrays many heavy truths. This profound journey Hannah takes leads her toward forgiveness and reveals the trauma that affects all members involved in an abortion.

Bella (PG-13, 2006)

This follows the difficult path a young woman named Nina must take through an unplanned pregnancy. She is scared and desperate, but her friend Jose supports and loves her through it, empowering her to keep her baby rather than have an abortion. She can’t see a way out of her situation except terminating the pregnancy, but Jose makes all the difference as he walks through life with her. This movie includes some mild content concerns, but this intimate and heartwarming narrative conveys a powerful message about the value of preborn lives and the emotional lives of their mothers, presenting a message of compassion and hope.

Juno (PG-13, 2007)

Juno is a young woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy with her best friend Paulie Bleeker, who she doesn’t start dating until later. She originally plans to have an abortion, but she quickly realizes that she can’t go through with it. The story transitions to showing the relationship forming between Juno and the adoptive parents of her future child. The film is not family friendly, involving cursing and sexual content, but supports prolife values and affirms adoption. The moral relativism in the film is a little problematic from a Christian perspective, but the merits of the movie in generating conversations about choosing life are undeniable.

For Adults

Roe v. Wade (PG-13, 2019)

This film tells the story of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Larry Lader, and Betty Freidan as they strive to make abortion legal in the name of give women rights. The trio finds a young woman in an intensely vulnerable pregnancy named Norma McCorvey and manipulate her to serve their purpose of legalizing abortion. Both sides of the legal, ethical, and theological debate about life are represented, but the narrative affirms the redemption found in discovering the truth and the value of life. Bernie eventually comes to realize the evils of the abortions he is performing while viewing the procedure through an ultrasound machine and recants his stance. The film is important, but it includes a lot of talk, and some PG-13 depictions, of sexual freedom. The intense violence of abortions and horrifying racism of Margret Sanger are difficult to stomach, as well.

Unplanned (R, 2019)

This movie tells the tragic but worthwhile story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who changed her mind about abortion when she truly witnessed it for the first time. Abby’s transformation portrays the value of life and the heavy emotional impact of abortion. Abortions are shown to be the violent and gruesome tragedies that they are. The abortion scenes are bloody and graphic, giving the movie its R-rating. Although the graphic content makes this film not an advisable watch for everyone, the narrative draws attention to the realities behind staggering abortion statistics and adds an emotional weight to the issue.

Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer (PG-13, 2018)

Gosnell follows the story of the startling, brutal crimes of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who murdered hundreds of babies with illegal abortion procedures. His actions also harmed and even killed several mothers of these children, and the investigation detailed in the movie brings to light these grisly procedures. The violence is not often shown on screen, but the detailed descriptions of abortions, particularly the illegal ones Gosnell performed, are stunning. The movie pulls no punches in showing the brutality of Gosnell’s work and the squalor in which he performed it. The movie insists that the trial is about murder rather than legal abortion; however, it is impossible to watch without grasping the darkness found in the abortion in industry and the violence that it involves.

On a personal note: Even reading the reviews of some of these movies can be, to be frank, devastating. The subject matter is heavy and dark, but I challenge you to at least read some of these full reviews. The content of these movies makes it difficult to fall into complacency on this issue.

Bonus Short Film: Crescendo

This short film is sure to be 15 minutes of your life well spent. The piece has won numerous awards and was created to simultaneously spread awareness and raise funds for pregnancy centers. The project was created by the same producers as the previously mentioned film, Bella, and it tells the true story of how the famous composer Beethoven was almost aborted. You can watch it on YouTube.

Marsella Evans 2022 intern
Marsella Evans

Marsella Evans is the Plugged In intern for Summer 2022.

3 Responses

  1. -Thank you so much for putting a list like this together! We are HUGE Plugged In fans!

    The former editor in me can’t resist, however, pointing out an error in the first sentence, which says, “In lieu of the Supreme Court’s recent decision…:.”

    “In lieu of” means “instead of,” and I don’t believe that’s what you meant.

    If the intent is to communicate, as I assume, that “Because of…”, then the way to say that would be, “In light of…”.

    Thank you for correcting this when there is time.

    With blessings,

    Mrs. Kimberly Rhoades

    1. Thank you for your kind words about Plugged In, Kimberly! We appreciate your taking a moment to correct the grammatical error we didn’t notice. We strive for accuracy in every project, but sometimes we fall short of the mark. In such cases, it’s good to have sharp-eyed friends like you! May God bless you and your family!

  2. -I always thought “Unplanned’s” poster looked creepy, and it tended to be very jarring when seen at a multiplex alongside the typical group of blockbusters.