Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 06/04/21

Former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director Abby Johnson notes the organization’s hypocrisy on Paid Family Leave. Now a fetal rights and family advocate, the founder of And Then There Were None – which assists abortion clinic workers in transitioning out of the industry – notes that her comparatively tiny organization which (unlike the much larger PP) receives no government money has always offered 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave for births and adoptions plus leave for miscarriages and stillbirths. In fact, ATTWN is leading the way for other nonprofits, organizations, and companies who advocate for women’s issues. In contrast, I’m told Planned Parenthood, the self-proclaimed bastion of “choice” for women, offers pregnant employees a miserly 4 weeks of paid maternity leave and 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.

Johnson supports the push by President Biden and the Democrats to push for making 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave the norm across the nation which, she says, should be viewed as a non-partisan issue that just happens to be pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and pro-woman. She recently wrote a Western Journal op-ed in which she called out Planned Parenthood for failing to lead – and failing women – on the issue. In the article she suggests that “This isn’t surprising given that the organization makes money directly off of women who are facing a lack of paid leave from their jobs.”

JWK: Tell me about the Paid Family Leave policy of And Then There Were None as compared to that at Planning Parenthood.

Abby Johnson: We give 12 weeks fully-paid leave for our staff. That was one thing that was really important to me when I start And Then There Were None because I knew that was not something that the abortion industry did. Paid Family Leave is a conversation that we need to have, really, as a nation. It’s a conversation that employers need to have amongst themselves. The fact is is that 23% of all moms are going back to work within two weeks of giving birth. That’s shocking. I mean that should shock everyone. I wanted the employees in my organization to feel like they had plenty of time to be home with their babies.

JWK: How many employees to you have?

AJ: We have 25.

JWK: I think it’s fair to say that the media is generally in favor of Paid Family Leave but they don’t really hold Planned Parenthood’s feet to the fire on the issue – despite the fact that they actually receive federal funding. What are your general feelings on how the media covers the group and abortion in general?

AJ: It’s definitely very biased. A couple of years ago there was sort of a big exposé done on this particular topic – Paid Family Leave. I think it was the New York Times. It was some large publication that did a big article on this. They interviewed me. They interviewed many former workers who had had children while they worked at Planned Parenthood. (They) talked about how they were pressured to come back to work after having their baby and how terrible they were treated. One article was published about it and that was it. There were no subsequent articles. Planned Parenthood’s feet weren’t held to the fire. Here they are, supposedly this huge women’s rights organization and they treat women terribly. They just continue to get a pass over and over and over again. That’s what we see in the media. I mean it’s all over. You know, they’re trafficking human baby parts for money – and nothing. They get a pass. They commit Medicaid fraud. That gets exposed – and they get a pass. It’s almost like they’re Teflon coated.

JWK: So, going forward, what would you like to see happen regarding the issue of Paid Family Leave?

AJ: There’s already been a few bills that have been put forward in Congress. When we talk about Paid Family Leave I think a lot of conservatives sort of put their hands up and they say “Wait a minute!” You know, they think that this is a taxpayer-funded thing and that’s not true. The bills that have been put forward in Congress are budget neutral. They don’t require any tax dollars from anyone. They’re either child tax credit plans or their Social Security plans. These are optional for parents. They withdraw on their own Social Security. They withdraw from their own child tax credits. It doesn’t influence taxpayers whatsoever. This is pretty widely accepted by conservatives. (Most) people are supportive of parental leave. So, we need to be talking about this more. We need to be calling and talking about these plans with our congressional representatives. We need to be encouraging them to move this type of legislation forward. This is very bipartisan legislation. No woman needs to feel like she needs to go back to work two weeks after giving birth. That’s ridiculous.

This is good for babies too. Just ten weeks of paid maternal leave was associated with a ten percent lower infant mortality rate. It’s good for women, it’s good for families but it’s also good for our babies.

JWK: This may be a little off the subject but one of my pet issues is Universal Basic Income and how that may be worthy of conservative support in some ways – given how it can be seen as pro-family and supportive of pregnant women who want to keep their babies but are pressured not to for financial reasons. Do you have any thoughts on that?

AJ: I’m certainly not an expert (regarding) Universal Basic Income but I think that any time that we can remove barriers – especially financial barriers, which is what Paid Family does – it reduces the abortion rate. And that’s a good thing. As someone who worked in the abortion clinic, I can tell you that when women came in (to have) an abortion (it) was because they didn’t have finances. They didn’t have resources to have another child. 60% of these women having abortions already have children at home. So, I think there is an argument to say we need to try to remove as many barriers as possible to provide for our families.

JWK: Anything else you’d like to say as we wrap up?

AJ: I’m co-owner of a website called The Real Deal of Parenting. We write about these sorts of issues concerning parents a lot. It’s a conservative Christian parenting website. So, if people want more information on these types of issues, I would say they could definitely go there.

JWK: You also do a podcast.

AJ: I do. I have podcast called Politely Rude.

JWK: Where’d you come up with that name?

AJ: It’s just nice and southern. My husband has always said that I’m “politely rude” so it just stuck for the podcast.
Videos of the Week. While former Planned Parenthood insider Abby Johnson points out that Planned Parenthood may not have the actual interests of women at the top of the agenda, a former Black Lives Matter insider says that, despite its name, BLM has priorities other than the health and welfare of People of Color…

…and a former news anchor explains how she came to realize that, for much of the media, an unbiased search for truth is no longer a guiding value. While it can be rather distressing to think that so-called advocates for women, black lives and truth are often frauds, checkout the video that follows this one for a dose of much-needed hope for the future.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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