The president of Planned Parenthood said in a new interview she is “proud” of her organization’s abortion services.
Alexis McGill Johnson, the abortion giant’s president and chief executive, also said she believes Planned Parenthood should not downplay its abortion work. Otherwise, she said, the organization is helping stigmatize abortion.
Johnson, 48, made the comments in an interview with The Washington Post. She’s comfortable if “abortion” is the first thought people have when they think of Planned Parenthood.
“I think abortion is health care,” she said. “And so, if the first thing they think about is health care when they think about Planned Parenthood, I think that’s fine. Planned Parenthood proudly serves all forms of sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, and I think when we try to exclude it, we’re excluding a critical part of and a critical option for health care.”
Johnson also told The Post she is uncomfortable saying abortion is a “small part” of Planned Parenthood’s multitude of services.
“I think when we say, ‘It’s a small part of what we do,’ what we’re doing is actually stigmatizing it. Like: It’s really not a big deal that Planned Parenthood does this. We are a proud abortion provider,” Johnson said. “We believe that abortion is health care, and we believe, fundamentally, that self-determination begins with being able to control your own body and freedom begins with being able to control your own body. So I don’t like to marginalize it in that way.”
At least 18 abortion rights cases, she said, are a step away from the U.S. Supreme Court. Conservatives, she said, have outmaneuvered pro-choice activists in several ways.
“I think that the progress that conservatives have made over the last 10 years, in terms of capturing courts, state legislatures on a bunch of issues that are really not in line with where the majority of the populations are even in their own state, have a lot to do with their understanding of how to change the world to maximize power,” she said. “And while we’ve been very issue-focused and very ideologically focused, it hasn’t always matched the kind of power-building structural focus.”
Planned Parenthood’s report for 2018-19 showed the organization’s clinics performed a total of 345,672 abortions during the fiscal year, an increase over 332,757 abortions in 2017-18. It is the nation’s largest abortion provider.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Angela Weiss/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.