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December 20, 2018

For One Actress, It Is a Wonderful Life

When Ashley Bratcher took the leading role in *Unplanned*, she wasn’t ambivalent about life — but she wasn’t exactly passionate about it either. Then came the revelation that turned her world upside down. Ashley, who was about to star in a movie about abortion, had almost been a victim of it.

When Ashley Bratcher took the leading role in Unplanned, she wasn’t ambivalent about life — but she wasn’t exactly passionate about it either. Then came the revelation that turned her world upside down. Ashley, who was about to star in a movie about abortion, had almost been a victim of it.

Her emotional true story came tumbling out in interview on Fox & Friends Tuesday, giving the project a whole new meaning. And not just for Ashley. Like a lot of actresses, Bratcher had no idea who Abby Johnson was when she first auditioned to play her. “I was given just six pages. Six pages that ignited my curiosity… How could this incredibly [devoted] woman one day change her mind about everything she believed in? There had to be more to the story.”

As a lot of pro-lifers know, Johnson, the former director of Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas stood in a clinic room on a fall day in 2009, watching the ultrasound of a baby who would never be born. As the doctor started to snuff out another life, Abby Johnson decided in that moment to change hers. After watching 22,000 unborn children die, the eight-year veteran of the abortion movement turned in her resignation. “I just thought I can’t do this anymore, and it was just like a flash hit me. [A]nd I thought, that’s it.”

But now, Abby’s conversion is just one part of the story. Thanks to a brave mom, this film’s cast is living proof that choosing life changes lives. By the time Ashley got the job, she says, “A fire was lit inside of me. I was convicted.” Things moved so fast, she explains, she barely had time to tell her family about the project before she was on set in Oklahoma. When she finally talked to her mom, she was concerned that telling her about the plot would upset her. “When I was in high school,” Ashley remembers, “my mother shared with me that she’d had an abortion when she was 16.” It devastated her, Ashley writes in a column on Fox. Three years later, at 19, “she became pregnant with me. ‘I knew I could never have an abortion again,’ she told me.”

But Ashley had no idea how close she’d come. Through a stream of tears on the phone, her mom’s voice broke. “I need to tell you something that I’ve never told you before.” She paused, “I was going to abort you.” Ashley sat in stunned silence as her mom went on. “I was at the clinic sitting on the table when the nurse who was very pregnant came in to talk to me. I felt sick. I couldn’t do it. I got up and walked out… and I chose you.”

Later that night, Ashley called her dad. “Is this true? Why didn’t someone tell me?” she pleaded. They thought they were too young to have a baby, he said. “We didn’t have enough money, so I pawned a shotgun so we could pay for the abortion.” How do you tell your daughter that, Ashley wonders? “When is the right time to tell her that you were going to abort her? I don’t know how to put in words what it feels like to learn you were seconds away from never existing.” But, as her dad sobbed on the phone, she heard the words that give her story so much meaning. “You being there making this movie is proof to me that God is so real. That he has a plan for your life.”

Just like He had a plan for Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Tim Tebow, Pope John Paul II, Steve Jobs, and so many other people we can’t imagine the world without. There are almost 60 million other voices we’ll never hear, inventions we’ll never have, football games we’ll never watch because of abortion. If Ashley’s story and Abby’s story and so many other mothers’ stories can save just one life, it will have been worth it.

“I’m grateful that God, through His providence, planted me here to tell my story — and that I have the privilege of sharing this film with the world. And yes, I do secretly hope that one of the outcomes of all of these ‘coincidences’ is that many will find the courage my mother found when she listened to her conscience and made the choice that gave me life.”

Don’t miss Ashley’s incredible interview with Ainsley Earhardt on Tuesday’s “Fox & Friends” below.

Originally published here.

Can the GOP Stop Scrooge from Hitting Churches?

If you thought your Christmas to-do list was long — you should see Congress’s! Before dipping into the wassail, members in both chambers are scrambling to finish up seven spending bills, criminal justice reform, welfare reauthorization, and a sleigh of other issues before sprinting home for the holidays. But there’s one bill that conservatives are especially interested in seeing under their tree this year — and that’s the Retirement, Savings, And Other Tax Relief Act of 2018 (H.R. 88).

After Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) overhauled his first draft, House Republicans are ready to ship the proposal to the floor. When they do — most likely on Thursday — churches, pastors, nonprofits, pro-lifers, and free speech advocates will be happy to see that some of their biggest priorities are included.

FRC’s David Closson explains what’s at stake in this new op-ed for Western Journal. The Tax and Jobs Act of 2017 has been a boon for families and businesses, he agrees. But, “a little-noticed provision in the legislation also created a new tax on nonprofits, which includes churches and other houses of worship — under which they will now be taxed for the cost of parking and providing transit benefits to employees. If not repealed, the results of this provision could be devastating for religious schools, charities, and churches — many of whom may be required to file state returns and possibly pay state income tax.”

The House can fix this problem this week by passing Brady’s bill. Without it, David points out, “churches and nonprofits will have to pay $1.7 billion over the next 10 years, drastically reducing their ability to serve their communities. Not only will it fix this tax issue, but H.R. 88 will gut the Johnson Amendment, which has stifled and chilled the free speech rights of pastors and 501(c)(3) leaders to speak on ‘political matters. Additionally, this bill will recognize unborn children for the first time ever in the tax code, allowing parents, grandparents, or other relatives to open 529 educational savings accounts for an unborn child.”

The power to tax, Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “involves the power to destroy.” To see how, read the statistics in David’s column. Then, pick up your phone and call your congressman before tomorrow’s vote. Ask them to support H.R. 88!

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.

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