On Friday, June 26, members of the board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) voted to appoint interim leader Alexis McGill Johnson as the permanent president and CEO of the organization, as well as the organization’s advocacy arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
McGill Johnson—who has been acting president of the organization since July 2019—is a long-time social justice leader, researcher, political organizer and advocate for reproductive rights and affordable health care access.
Previously, the 48-year-old served as the co-founder of two nonprofit research organizations: The Culture Group and The Perception Institute. In addition to her new role at Planned Parenthood, she also serves on the boards of several civil rights advocacy organizations, including Color for Change, Revolutions Per Minute and The Narrative Institute.
“As a proven trailblazer for reproductive rights and social change, Alexis is the right leader to take us into the next chapter of our history as we fight to create a world where every person is free to control their own body, destiny and life,” said PPFA board chair Aimee Cunningham and Action Fund board chair Jennie Rosenthal in a statement.
McGill Johnson took over as Planned Parenthood’s interim leader in July 2019. One month later, Planned Parenthood opted to withdraw from the Title X family planning program rather than abide by the Trump administration’s domestic gag rule, which bars comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion services and information.
“Since I stepped into the acting role last year, Planned Parenthood has battled serious threats to patients’ care from the exclusion of Planned Parenthood providers from Title X funding to states’ continued efforts to limit access to abortion and reproductive health care,” McGill Johnson said Friday.
“We know the year ahead holds more challenges, as we … face a long overdue public reckoning with systemic racism, and continue to battle COVID-19,” McGill Johnson continued. “Through it all, I have been grateful to the Planned Parenthood family for their dedication to this work. … I look forward to the work ahead.”
A leader in providing and advocating for high-quality, affordable, accessible health care for women, men and young people, Planned Parenthood has provided millions of people around the world with essential health care and knowledge. With more than 600 health centers across the country, the 104-year-old nonprofit has been able to serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgement through health centers, online resources, and programs within schools and throughout communities—as well as being the nation’s largest provider of sex education.
McGill Johnson says she is both “proud and humbled” to take on the new role.
“In my decade as a PPFA and Action Fund board member and in this past year as the acting president, I have seen us rally, march, strategize, organize and mobilize together through some really tough times. … It is amazing to see how far we have come in the public conversation about sexual and reproductive health.
“And while our movement still has major challenges to overcome—not least of which is the makeup of the current Congress, administration, and courts—I know that lifting each other and learning from each other we will continue to strengthen the movement for justice and change lives.”