Planned Parenthood Head Says Playing Down Abortion Biz Stigmatizes It

By Matt Philbin 

If The Washington Post were capable of recognizing irony on any level, it might think twice running an interview with the head of America’s busiest abortion mill in the “Lifestyle” section. 

But that’s where Post Magazine contributor KK Ottesen’s soft-ball session appears. “Alexis McGill Johnson,” Ottesen told readers, “is a political scientist, social justice advocate, and president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood. She is co-founder and former co-director of the Perception Institute, an anti-bias research group.”

So she’s a social justice drone whose new gig has been flacking for infanticide — the perfect subject for a Post piece.

Mostly, the interview wasn’t very interesting. She was galvanized into taking on the “complicated and critical” work of abortion advocacy by the shock of seeing a pro-life billboard in New York City. (Previously, she’d thought being against baby-killing was “something that happened in really conservative states.”) 

But it did get interesting when Ottesen tossed up one of Planned Parenthood’s standard PR lines and Johnson didn’t swing at it. 

“For many people, ‘abortion’ is the first word that comes to mind when they hear the name Planned Parenthood,” Ottesen said. “How does that sit with you?”

Johnson replied: “I think abortion is health care. And so, if the first thing they think about is health care when they think about Planned Parenthood, I think that’s fine.” She gives a few stock lines about other “sexual and reproductive health care” offerings, but without much enthusiasm.

Ottesen, perhaps surprised by the sudden forthrightness, tried again: “But it is a very small part of all the things Planned Parenthood does, right?” 

But Planned Parenthood has clearly adopted the “Shout Your Abortion” crowd’s defiance. Johnson said:

Overall, certainly. But it is still a critically important part of what we do. So 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. 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.

So that’s new and almost refreshing. Planned Parenthood has spent years downplaying its profitable abortion business. In fact, The Washington Post itself gave three Pinocchios to the organization’s claim that abortion represented only three percent of its activities.

If woke blather about stigmatizing and marginalization are prompting more honesty from Planned Parenthood, so much the better. And while Johnson’s at it, maybe she could fill us in about the group’s aftermarket baby parts business. Wouldn’t want to marginalize that….

Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.