Politics

Pro-Life Leaders Pounce After Planned Parenthood Leader Says It’s ‘Not Political By Nature’

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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  • Alexis McGill Johnson became acting president of Planned Parenthood after the organization fired Leana Wen in July.
  • Johnson said Planned Parenthood is “not political by nature.”
  • Pro-life leaders responded to Johnson’s comments, saying Planned Parenthood’s past and present actions contradict that statement.

Pro-Life leaders pounced after acting Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson said the organization is not “political by nature” in her first interview since taking over the position.

“We are primarily a health care provider,” she said in the interview with CBS News reporter Kate Smith. “And the idea that we can provide that access depends on our ability to keep our health centers open.”

Johnson replaced former Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen, who was fired by the organization July 16. (RELATED: Why Did Planned Parenthood Fire Leana Wen?)

“We’re not political by nature, but we’ve been politicized,” Johnson said. “And that fight has actually been our focus to ensure that our health centers stay open.”

But pro-life leaders said Planned Parenthood is entirely political by nature.

Live Action founder Lila Rose told the Daily Caller News Foundation it is “laughable” to hear Johnson say Planned Parenthood is not political “when Planned Parenthood fired its last CEO for not being political enough.”

“It is clear that Planned Parenthood will continue its deadly abortion business and its ruthless, pro-abortion political advocacy,” Rose said.

She added that the organization “is present to lobby against every single abortion regulation and restriction, demanding that sex-selection abortion remain legal, that babies who survive abortion attempts not be provided legal protections, and that abortion on full-term infants is be permitted for any reason.”

President of March for Life Action  and Vice President of Government Affairs for the March for Life Tom McClusky drew attention to the millions of tax dollars he said Planned Parenthood receives from politicians elected by their “affiliated multi-million dollar PAC.”

“This is active participation in politics and to claim otherwise is entirely misleading,” McClusky told the DCNF.

Susan B. Anthony List vice president of communications Mallory Quigley called Planned Parenthood a “profit-driven, abortion-centered business with a distinct focus on politics,” pointing to the organization’s annual reports.

“As America’s largest abortion chain, they stand the most to lose when Americans, acting through their elected legislators, pass laws to limit abortion and protect life,” Quigley said.

Former abortion clinic director and now pro-life activist Abby Johnson, the subject of the movie “Unplanned,” also told the DCNF that Planned Parenthood’s annual reports illustrate their “extensive political involvement.”

“They are more a political entity than healthcare provider,” Johnson told the DCNF, adding that the organization relies on “an extensive network of politicians, wealthy donors, and community organizers to ensure they are able to keep abortion in the political conscious.”

The acting director of Planned Parenthood also emphasized in the interview that Planned Parenthood needs to stand up against new abortion restrictions for women who need health care access — a sensitive point for an organization that reportedly fired Wen due to her focus on health care over politics. (RELATED: Planned Parenthood Has A History Of Removing Health Care-Focused Presidents)

Planned Parenthood did not respond to requests for comment from the DCNF. The National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Emily’s List also did not respond to requests for comment on Johnson’s comments.

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