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Planned Parenthood president says abortion work shouldn’t be marginalized

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The president of Planned Parenthood said in an interview published Tuesday that she doesn’t like to “marginalize” abortion by saying “It’s a small part of what we do.”

Alexis McGill Johnson, the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood, told The Washington Post that she believes that “abortion is health care,” adding that she thinks “that’s fine” if people think of abortion first when thinking of Planned Parenthood. 

“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,” she said. 

Johnson, a political scientist and social justice advocate, clarified that “overall” abortion is a small but “critically important”  part of the work that organization conducts. 

“So I think when we say, ‘It’s a small part of what we do,’ what we’re doing is actually stigmatizing it,” she said. “Like: It’s really not a big deal that Planned Parenthood does this.” 

“We are a proud abortion provider,” she added. “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.”

Johnson said she’s open to conversations with those who disagree but added, “I am not open to not allowing people the freedom they need to make their own decisions.”

The Planned Parenthood executive’s comments come as President-elect Joe Biden is expected to roll back several of President Trump’s administration’s restrictions regarding abortions and reproductive health care. The administration’s rules led Planned Parenthood to leave a federal family planning grant program.

But Trump has left a lasting impact on courts throughout the nation by nominating many conservative judges and justices likely to be more open to restricting abortion practices. 

Last month, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Texas and Louisiana officials could remove Planned Parenthood from their Medicaid programs. Planned Parenthood could bring the case to the Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority after the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Tags Abortion Alexis McGill Johnson Amy Coney Barrett Donald Trump family planning Joe Biden Planned Parenthood Reproductive health reproductive health care

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