Planned Parenthood Staff Revolt
by Rachel MacNair
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) is one of the regional affiliates of Planned Parenthood, covering New York City and the nearby area, administering several PP centers.
A June 18 Open Letter, signed by over 300 people, was published which started:
The CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, Laura McQuade, has proven to be a toxic leader and autocrat, and we, the current and former staff . . . write this letter to demand her immediate removal.
She was accused of verbal abuse and bullying, plus financial improprieties.
Additionally, of particular interest from the letter:
Planned Parenthood was founded by a racist, white woman. That is a part of history that cannot be changed. While efforts have been made to undo some of the harm from institutional racism, many of these issues have worsened under McQuade’s tenure. . . .
We know that Planned Parenthood has a history and a present steeped in white supremacy and we, the staff, are motivated to do the difficult work needed to improve.
We write this — as a group of both current and former BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) employees of [PPGNY] to expand on the issues of racism and anti-Blackness in our workplace.
These aren’t people biased against PP or its mission – to the contrary, they’re explicitly trying to save it.
A note was later added to the top saying they had been successful. McQuade has been removed.
Lots of organizations, even very good ones, have the problem of abusive bosses. We’re all keenly aware that many organizations are still “steeped in white supremacy,” and that this is a problem that needs to be fixed, ideally by their own staffs from the inside. Uprisings of this kind are needed in all kinds of organizations, and I’d like to see more of them. I suppose the PP staff involved see it as essentially nothing more than that.
But Planned Parenthood, by having the largest chain of abortion centers in the world, and having most of its U.S. locations doing abortions while the rest of the U.S. locations serve as abortion pipelines to those centers, has special features. Namely:
- Killing massive numbers of unborn children involves dehumanizing them. Can such massive dehumanization happen and not bleed over into racism?
- Mothers are very commonly being expected to accommodate themselves to massive injustices when they’re pressured to abort. While there are certainly women who do in fact make the decision for themselves and resent any suggestion otherwise, there are also huge numbers who feel traumatized by their abortions. We know, because we get a continual flow of women who’ve had abortions under sexist circumstances into the pro-life movement. So any staff would have to either be aware of the injustices pushing women to abort or be studiously ignoring the evidence in front of their eyes.
- White supremacists are very happy for Black and Hispanic women to abort their babies, presuming it means there are fewer Black and Hispanic people. Much as staff members are sure that their work is to give women choices, they have to be aware that they’re accommodating this dynamic – and that people of this mindset can be attracted to contribute money to or to be leaders in Planned Parenthood.
- The verbal abuse and bullying part could possibly be a symptom of trauma. One of the symptoms of PTSD is outbursts of irritation. Being involved in massive killing may be more traumatizing than many people realize.
These might be some considerations for staff to reflect on, to consider whether they want to reform the organization – or abolish it.
For our constantly-updated website with information and ideas on noncooperation with Planned Parenthood, see
For more news on turmoil in Planned Parenthood, see:
For some of our blog posts on racism, see:
Racism and the Death Penalty / David Cruz-Uribe
Brown v. Board of Education and Me / Bill Samuel
Movies with Racism Themes: “Gosnell” and “The Hate U Give” / Rachel MacNair
The Poor Cry Out for Justice, and We Respond with Legalized Abortion / Graciela Olivarez
For some of our blog posts on how abortion hurts women (as in Point #2 above), see:
Abortion and Violence against Pregnant Women / Martha Shuping
The Myth of Sexual Autonomy / Julianne Wiley
How Abortion is Useful for Rape Culture / Rachel MacNair