Who Is Alexis McGill Johnson?
By Jim Sedlak
Alexis McGill Johnson is the new acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Johnson is a Planned Parenthood insider. She served on the board of the Action Fund beginning in 2011 and was board chair of the Federation from 2013 to 2015. Unlike her predecessor, Johnson has no medical training but is a highly skilled political activist. She has political science degrees from Princeton and Yale universities and taught political science at Yale and Wesleyan universities.
In line with her political interests, in 2002 Johnson was named political director of Russell Simmons’ “Hip Hop Summit Action Network.” Beginning in 2004, Johnson served as executive director of the nonprofit “Citizen Change,” a political service group founded by musician P. Diddy and backed by Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and 50 Cent. She also served on the boards of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Center for Social Inclusion, and Citizen Engagement Lab.
In addition to her interest in politics, Johnson is also heavily involved with the African-American community. She taught in the African-American studies program while she was at Yale and Wesleyan. She coauthored “The ‘Good Hair’ Study: Explicit and Implicit Attitudes toward Black Women’s Hair” and “His Story: Shifting Narratives for Boys and Men of Color.”
“a consortium of mind science researchers, educators, and social justice advocates . . . we develop strategies to reduce racial bias and anxiety and influence the public narrative through cultural conversations. . . . Our goal is a nation in which, instead of insisting on a false ‘color blindness,’ we all have 20/20 vision when it comes to race; where our culture isn’t filled with toxic, dehumanizing visions of people of color; and our public policies reflect what science has been telling us about how discrimination and bias really work.”
In an interview last week on CBSN, Johnson said that she was spurred to get involved with Planned Parenthood after college when, in 2010, she saw a billboard that read “the most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” She said that message was like a “punch in the gut.” To her, it was a criticism of African-American women for making choices in “reproductive health care.” This led her to discussions with a member of Planned Parenthood’s board, and she joined the board of Planned Parenthood’s political arm—Planned Parenthood Action Fund—in 2011 and “essentially never left.”
Before her current appointment as acting president, Johnson was basically a behind-the-scenes individual with Planned Parenthood. In her interview, she spoke about fundraising, being on the board, and voting for the requirement that every Planned Parenthood affiliate must have at least one location that commits abortion. She was very clear that she supports abortion as “health care” and said unequivocally that she would never entertain the notion that Planned Parenthood would stop committing abortions to retain government funding. Johnson was equally clear that she believes the government should pay for abortions for poor women.
Up to this point, Johnson has been very quiet about her early life. Although most articles say she was born in New York City, we found one article that claimed she is “a Morristown (NJ) native.”
Johnson is married (to Rob Johnson, president of George Soros’ Institute for New Economic Thinking) and has two daughters (Sara Jean and Dylan Katherine). In addition to her other activities, she also does research for the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
Planned Parenthood has said it expects Johnson will serve as acting president until the end of 2020. She is the second African-American president of Planned Parenthood (Faye Wattleton was the first and served from 1978 until 1991).
The day after her appointment, Johnson sent an open letter to the Planned Parenthood community. In that letter, she gave a bit more insight on who she is:
“I’ve spent my career working at the intersection of academia and racial justice, and I used to tell my students: We find leadership in everyday experiences, but sometimes you see a good fight and you just want in. So I jumped in at Planned Parenthood.”
She identified her three major concerns: “Today, we are defending access to sexual and reproductive health from attacks on many fronts—from the attempt to shut down access to abortion in states across the South and Midwest; to sexual and reproductive health crises including skyrocketing STI rates and rising maternal mortality rates; to attacks by the Trump-Pence administration.”
And then she reiterated the lie that every Planned Parenthood president since Margaret Sanger has spoken:
“The bottom line is this: Our work and our mission isn’t about one person or even one organization—our work is about the millions of people who need access to affordable and comprehensive health care.”
Well, there are 8.3 million babies who have died at Planned Parenthood facilities and millions more who are suffering an eternity in hell because they bought the lie of “free sex” who have an entirely different opinion of Planned Parenthood.
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly talk show on the Radio Maria Network. He has been successfully fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.