Planned Parenthood president says downplaying abortion service is stigmatizing

CEO Alexis McGill-Johnson said the procedure is a 'critically important part of what we do.'

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CEO of Planned Parenthood Alexis McGill-Johnson shared the significance of the organization’s role in providing abortion services.

Often times, an argument used to advocate for support of PP is the health clinic does more than abortions. McGill-Johnson shared that downplaying abortion however can continue to empower the taboo nature of the medical service. When asked about her feelings on the organization being synonymous with abortion during an interview with Washington Post, she stood firm on the company’s duties.

Read More: Doctors ask Supreme Court to strike down Trump abortion rule

“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. 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 continued to explain that although abortion is a small part of what Planned Parenthood does, the offered procedure should not be minimized.

“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.”

During an interview with theGrio, McGill-Johnson shared how PP is looking forward to working with the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris administration as they take control of the White House.

“I think putting the work that we did to drive this election in context means that we are now sitting at the table with the Biden administration in a much different way,” McGill-Johnson said to theGrio. “We need to make sure that his [Biden’s] personnel, the people that he’s bringing in key positions, like health and human services, are people who have a strong, unwavering record on reproductive health rights and justice.”

Read More: Supreme Court could become more conservative on guns, abortion and other key issues

She continued, “I think one of the other issues of particular importance for us as Black women is around the maternal mortality crisis, but it’s something that Vice President-elect Harris has sought to address. She’s a co-sponsor of the Black maternal health Momnibus Act.”

According to the Planned Parenthood website, their most recent report documented services provided from 2018-2019. The data revealed that across over 600 health care centers across the country, PP saw 2.4 million patients, with over 200,000 identifying as male, and performed over 9 million services for patients in need.

These services included important procedures such as 4,960,598 tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, 2,556,413 birth control, and information services, 4279 adoption referrals, 345,672 abortions, and 520,710 breast exams and pap smear tests.

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