NRL News

TIME Puffs Planned Parenthood Prez with Infomercial-Style Interview

by | Jan 18, 2021

By Tim Graham 

The latest double issue of Time magazine has an advertisement on the last page inside the cover. Well, to the naked eye, it looks like Journalism, but it’s actually a promotional interview with Alexis McGill Johnson, the president of Planned Parenthood. Above a black and white picture of Johnson is the promotional pull quote: 


Time reporter Abigail Abrams asks the kind of set-up questions that Larry King asks in infomercials for Omega XL pills, such as “What are your top priorities for the Biden administration?” And “What do you think of Joe Biden’s choice of Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services”? (“It’s tremendously exciting,” as we could have guessed. “Becerra is a staunch sexual- and reproductive-health champion.”) 

Time spent two of its “7 Questions” asking about Kamala Harris, another staunch abortion backer.

During the presidential primaries, Sen. Kamala Harris proposed a law, modeled on the Voting Rights Act, that that would protect the right to abortion nationwide. With Harris as Vice President, is that kind of law something Planned Parenthood would pursue?

Even with Roe in place, access to abortion is still limited. As our reproductive justice colleagues always say, Roe is the floor, not the ceiling. We need to engage with our congressional champions, as well as the administration and think about how do we go beyond Roe to fulfill the promise to safe, legal abortion for all. I don’t think that’s a single policy solution. It’s not a single congressional or regulatory solution. You know, it’s about the right, but also the access.

Harris also made other women’s health issues a focus during her campaign for President. How will having her in the White House impact your work?

I really value her leadership on issues like maternal mortality, which is part of sexual and reproductive health care. The Omnibus bill that she was a lead on are ways to talk about the full spectrum of sexual- and reproductive-health care. With all of these appointments and conversations, I think it’s giving us a lot of hope about the ways in which this Administration is using the power of the personnel appointments to demonstrate and signal the direction of policy that isn’t neat. We don’t just live in one neat agency. All of these agencies impact us.

This woman of color is going to get the requisite race question: “How is Planned Parenthood thinking about its own work in the context of health equity and racial justice?” 

Johnson very carefully avoids the trap of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger being a eugenicist who wanted to abort minorities:Planned Parenthood is a 104 year old organization. The reckoning has hit us as well. And I think it’s been very powerful to lean into the work, and to think about, with the patient at the center of everything we do, how we develop a stronger intersectional claim that allows us to deliver care with the values that we espouse.”

There is not a hint of an anti-abortion point in here anywhere, but there is the comical claim at the beginning of the online interview that they’d explore “how Planned Parenthood plans to push its agenda with a moderate Democrat in the White House.” As this interview demonstrates, there’s nothing “moderate” in the Biden-Harris push to expand abortion.

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

Categories: PPFA