Planned Parenthood has spent years expanding its abortion brand in Hollywood by advising movie and TV productions on abortion, according to a recent report.
The Washington Post Magazine said Planned Parenthood has advised the entertainment industry on more than 150 productions since 2014, citing estimates provided by a director at the nonprofit.
“Nobody used to call me,” Caren Spruch, Planned Parenthood’s director of arts and entertainment engagement, told the Post. “I would be watching TV and going to the movies and figuring out who I thought might be open to including these story lines. Now I have a couple of repeat clients. Now people call me.”
The report noted that Planned Parenthood has advised productions including the 2014 romantic comedy Obvious Child, which features an abortion subplot, as well as the TV shows Shrill and Jane the Virgin.
“If there’s a word or two that isn’t entirely accurate, she [Spruch] helps me drill down on that and make sure that we’re not putting misinformation out there,” said Jennie Snyder Urman, the show runner of Jane the Virgin.
Spruch encourages screenwriters to discuss abortion or works as a script doctor for screenwriters interested incorporating abortion, birth control or sexually transmitted infections in their storylines, according to the report.
The article recounts how Spruch arrived at Planned Parenthood in 1989 as a senior field organizer. She began courting youth through tactics like handing out information at concerts by Santana and Dave Matthews Band.
At one point, she cornered Maggie Gyllenhaal after spotting the actress in the audience of a play at the Public Theater in New York.
“She’s been a hardcore activist ever since,” Spruch said in the article.
Planned Parenthood sees Hollywood as a way of spreading its message to a wide audience.
“A lot of people learn about sexual and reproductive health care through pop culture and entertainment programs,” Melanie Roussell Newman, Planned Parenthood’s senior vice president of communication and culture, told the Post.
“We’ve seen pop culture change views around LGBTQ issues, for example, and pop culture has the power to challenge abortion stigma, too.”
The Post article includes comments from pro-life activists, some of whom object to Planned Parenthood’s influence over the entertainment industry.
“It’s like the tobacco industry getting to fact-check how smoking is treated in films,” Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, told the Post.
In July, the New York Times reported that Hollywood is depicting abortions at “record levels” on TV and in film in 2019.