‘Social Justice’ and Identity Politics Leader Named Planned Parenthood Acting President

Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood, speaks during a press conference on the reintroduction of the "Women's Health Protection Act at the House Triangle of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on May 23, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) named Alexis McGill Johnson, a former chair of the organization’s board of directors, as its acting president.

McGill Johnson was named Tuesday as PPFA announced its president for the past eight months, Dr. Leana Wen, would be stepping down.

Current PPFA board chairs Aimee Cunningham and Jennie Rosenthal said in an email letter that McGill Johnson will “provide a stable transition in leadership and will ensure that our vital work continues without interruption.”

The board chairs describe the new acting president as a “renowned social justice leader and a tireless advocate for reproductive rights and access to quality, affordable health care.”

McGill Johnson, who holds degrees from Princeton and Yale Universities and has taught political science, is also co-founder and former co-director of the Perception Institute, a consortium of researchers and strategists. Cunningham and Rosenthal state the group translates “cutting edge mind science research on race, gender, ethnic, and other identities into solutions that reduce bias and discrimination, and promote belonging.”

The new acting president of PPFA is currently serving on the boards of Color of Change, Revolutions Per Minute, and Narrative Initiative.

The change in leadership comes as the Trump administration announced it will begin implementing its Protect Life Rule immediately, ending taxpayer funds to facilities that provide or refer for abortions, including Planned Parenthood.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a previous panel ruling that allowed the Protect Life Rule to move ahead while other court cases continue.

Wen became the first medical doctor in decades to take the helm of the organization that became a driver of abortion politics and a significant contributor to Democrat politicians under former president Cecile Richards.

Supposedly, Wen was to shift the organization’s focus to health care, rather than just abortion politics.

According to a report at the New York Times:

The move came after hours of negotiations Tuesday between the board of directors and the president, Leana Wen, according to two people familiar with the decision.

Dr. Wen had been the first physician to lead the organization in decades. The people familiar with the move said there had been internal strife over her management, and that the group felt it needed a more aggressive political leader to fight the efforts to roll back access to abortions.

“I am not at all surprised that Planned Parenthood apparently wants to replace a leader who is a healthcare professional with someone who is more aggressive politically,” said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, in a statement. “They pass themselves off as a healthcare organization, but are instead a political machine pumping tens of millions of dollars into races for radical Democrat candidates who will protect the Planned Parenthood baby-killing agenda.”

“The 2020 elections have begun,” he added. “What else can Planned Parenthood be expected to do?”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said ending Wen’s tenure early “will not change the pro-life community’s commitment to confronting Planned Parenthood in court, in the legislatures and on the campaign trail.”

“Women don’t need what Planned Parenthood is selling,” she added. “Pregnancy is not a disease cured by abortion, and with federally qualified health centers standing by to offer true, full-service healthcare, women have lots of options that don’t include abortion.”

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