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Anti-Abortion Activist Who Advocated for Ending Women’s Suffrage Speaks at RNC

Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee turned anti-abortion activist, spoke at the Republican National Convention (RNC) on Tuesday. Johnson was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic before leaving after reportedly watching an abortion on an ultrasound. She now runs And Then There Were None, an organization which helps those who work in facilities which provide abortions change jobs. In her speech, Johnson made false claims about Planned Parenthood and described the abortion process graphically. She then praised the President’s anti-abortion record.

While Johnson’s speech fell on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted many women the right to vote, Johnson has supported anti-feminist policies. Johnson has advocated for “bringing back household voting,” which would only allow the head of each household to vote. This type of voting is used in some religious communities where the head of the household is almost universally recognized as male. When asked what would happen if members of a household disagreed on who to vote for, she responded, “In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.” Johnson has also stated that police officers would be “smart” if they racially profiled her biracial son.

Johnson’s story of suddenly opposing abortion centers around watching on an ultrasound as a fetus at 13-weeks gestation was aborted. However, there are several inconsistencies with her story. Planned Parenthood records do not show an abortion with an ultrasound taking place on the day Johnson claims it did. Additionally, while Johnson has stated that the person having the abortion was black, Planned Parenthood records show that the only black person who had an abortion on that day was 6 weeks into their pregnancy – meaning the embryo they aborted would look drastically different than the 13-week fetus Johnson describes. In response to this evidence, Johnson has claimed that Planned Parenthood doctored files – something there is no evidence for. One of Johnson’s close friends disclosed that shortly before leaving Johnson had been placed on a “performance improvement plan” where she had to speak with Planned Parenthood’s Regional Director weekly due to inappropriate email exchanges between her and a coworker. These facts have called into question her story’s legitimacy.

During her RNC speech Johnson made false claims about Planned Parenthood, stating that 80% of Planned Parenthood locations were “strategically placed” in minority communities while noting the founder of Planned Parenthood’s support for eugenics. However, Planned Parenthood has refuted Johnson’s statistic, saying that “fewer than 4% of Planned Parenthood facilities are in communities that are more than one-third Black.” Johnson also repeated her story of witnessing an abortion in graphic detail while incorrectly referring to fetuses as “babies.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue criticized the RNC for including Johnson, saying that it “underscores Trump and Republicans’ ongoing willingness to prop up dangerous conspiracy theories.”

Sources: ABC News 8/26/20; The 19th 8/25/20; Vice News 8/25/20; Texas Monthly 2/2010; Texas Monthly 4/16/19; Texas Observer 1/28/10