In a recent interview with ELLE magazine, Planned Parenthood president Alexis McGill Johnson outlined her top goals for the organization in 2021. Live Action News has previously addressed several of these goals, including “holding the Biden administration accountable on sexual and reproductive health” and permanently repealing the Hyde Amendment. The corporation has also been busy doing damage control on its own past and present racism and white supremacy.
Another of McGill Johnson’s goals is to “keep up the fight in the states.” She said, “In 2021, we must fight for policies that ensure every single person, regardless of their income or zip code, can actually access sexual and reproductive health care. Local Planned Parenthood organizations will hold politicians accountable who are working day and night to dismantle access in states across the country.”
How does Planned Parenthood intend to “keep up the fight”?
While a majority of Planned Parenthood Action Fund affiliate webpages have not yet been updated since their massive election efforts, as of January 9, a few affiliates had listed their legislative priorities for 2021.
In Illinois, where one wonders what pro-abortion law could possibly be enacted that hasn’t been already, passing the REACH Act is on the agenda. The REACH Act specifically mandates “comprehensive, inclusive, and age-appropriate sex education [to be] taught in grades K through 12 in public and charter schools statewide.” Certainly, if the REACH Act passes, Planned Parenthood will want a piece of the pie, advocating for its sex education programs to be universally implemented.
Another legislative priority in Illinois is repealing its parental notification law, the lone piece of pro-life legislation still standing after the sweeping Reproductive Health Act of 2019. Planned Parenthood claims, “Decades of research show that laws like this hurt young people and serve no valid purpose,” calling for it “to be repealed.”
Fighting against parental notification and consent laws makes sense for Planned Parenthood, as research has actually shown such laws to be very effective in reducing abortion rates in states where they are enacted. By the numbers, “Thirty-five states have these parental involvement laws, and there’s very good research that they lower minor abortion rates. We’ve looked at different states, we’ve looked at groups of states. There’s kind of a consensus that if your state passes a parental involvement law, the minor abortion rate falls by about 15%,” according to Dr. Michael New, visiting associate professor of Political Science and Social Research at Catholic University of America.
Illinois’ cohort in the quest to be the most radical state when it comes to abortion is New York, where legislative priorities for 2021 clearly align with that goal. Those priorities include mandating “comprehensive” sex education as in Illinois, enacting an Equal Rights Amendment for their state, and creating an abortion access fund that citizens could choose to contribute to on their tax returns. Of note, “The money raised would be distributed to non-profit organizations providing logistical and financial support to individuals who find access to abortion care out of reach,” which would no doubt create yet another revenue stream for Planned Parenthood.
Though Planned Parenthood’s usual focus is on sexual and reproductive health issues, assisted suicide advocacy is another legislative priority for the New York Planned Parenthood Action Fund affiliate in 2021. Planned Parenthood links its abortion advocacy with assisted suicide advocacy, claiming that “the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination is not constrained to one aspect of being, but rather the spectrum of life.” Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts’ website notes, “PPESA supports passage of the Medical Aid in Dying Act, to provide adults with the agency to make end-of-life decisions for themselves, with dignity and compassion.”
Asking Biden administration to crack down on state abortion legislation
Elsewhere, a January 8 post on Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s main page announced that it expects President-elect Joe Biden to “[prohibit] states from blocking access to care at Planned Parenthood.” Their biggest target is the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent ruling that Texas can block Medicaid funds from going to Planned Parenthood. They’ll seek to ensure that similar state waivers prohibiting Medicaid from funding Planned Parenthood, currently pending in Tennessee, South Carolina, and Idaho, are not passed.
Planned Parenthood is likely to fight back against 17 laws and two pro-life resolutions which were enacted at the state level nationwide in 2020 and the ballot initiatives or constitutional amendments expected to be introduced by Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, and Kentucky this year or next, as reported by Americans United for Life.
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