Planned Parenthood’s president Alexis McGill-Johnson recently gave an interview to The Washington Post touting her organization and its work—however, the result is somewhat unintentionally hilarious.
Beginning the interview, McGill-Johnson shares about how she walked by a pro-life billboard in New York City, which stated “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” This has been a consistent statement of the pro-life movement, as preborn African American babies are disproportionally targeted for abortion, making up 38% of abortions while being only 13% of the population.
McGill-Johnson didn’t attempt to discover if the statement was true, but instead was outraged that this billboard was in a liberal city as she considered it “something that happened in really conservative states. And when I saw it in New York City—it was in SoHo—I just was shocked, like, What is going on here?” (author’s emphasis)
There is, in fact, a passionate pro-life movement in New York City and in 2020 two African American women were arrested for praying outside the Margaret Sanger Planned Parenthood Center in Manhattan.
It seems rather presumptuous to believe that only “really conservative states” and cities have pro-life movements.
According to McGill-Johnson she shared her observation with then-Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, who told her that she “needs to do something about this” and invited her to lunch where McGill-Johnson learned “how complicated and critical the work is.”
When asked about how the Planned Parenthood brand is connected to abortion, McGill-Johnson argues that the statement that abortion is only “a small part of what we do” is “stigmatizing.” She said, “It’s really not a big deal that Planned Parenthood does this. We are a proud abortion provider. 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 that way.”
However, abortion is the most important part of Planned Parenthood’s business and advocacy and could be considered its sole focus. According to its own annual reports, abortion makes up roughly 14% of the organization’s business. That number is up from 4% 1993. In comparison, many of its other health offerings, especially cancer screenings, have decreased dramatically. The business is also trying to put other independent abortion clinics out of business by building mega clinics nearby and absorbing their clients.
To say that abortion is only “a small part of what we do” isn’t stigmatizing and it isn’t even true—abortion is the most important issue to the organization.
When asked if she has conversations with people in the pro-life community, McGill-Johnson’s response is rather vague. “I certainly have had conversations with people who disagree. And where I find that people are most willing to engage is in understanding, when you make the choice plain, whose decision should it really be?…I really wish we had more of those kinds of conversations. I think that’s really an opportunity to bridge, and it’s important to make this less of a partisan issue.”
McGill-Johnson then goes on to argue that there is “disinformation on the other side” while putting down pro-life pregnancy resource centers (PRCs), which she calls “crisis pregnancy centers.”
She said, “And it’s kind of hard to have a conversation with someone who is antiabortion who is leveraging public dollars through crisis pregnancy centers to derail and impact someone who’s made a decision to access abortion. So I’m open to having a conversation.”
The idea that PRCs or crisis pregnancy centers are “leveraging public dollars…to derail and impact someone who’s made a decision to access abortion” is ridiculous and laughable for an organization that received more than $500 million per year for the last eight years from the federal government.
Most PRCs rely solely on donations from the community to survive, and many would gladly welcome the level of government financial support that Planned Parenthood currently has.
McGill-Johnson also explained that the organization, in light of Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States, will work to “build power, both federally and in key states.”
It’s a revealing piece, and one that shows how disengaged the abortion business is with the millions of pro-life Americans across the country.
Planned Parenthood will likely publish its latest annual report later this month.
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