Should Justin Johnson have gotten the Planned Parenthood endorsement?

20 Jun 2013 02:02 pm
Posted by: Donna

Planned Parenthood AZ often endorses more than one candidate for the same office and in the Phoenix City Council District 4 race they had several pro-choice candidates to choose from in that heavily Democratic district. They endorsed three: Laura Pastor, David Lujan, and Justin Johnson. They gave three others – Austin Head, Jeffrey Brown, and Dan Carroll – the nod for “supporting our mission”.

I don’t know what PPAZ’s endorsement process is but I certainly hope they do some vetting of candidates’ past statements in addition to interviewing them. Justin Johnson ran for State Senate in 2010 and here is what he told the Arizona Republic about his position on abortion rights.

Do you support legislation that would:

A)Prohibit or curtail abortion?

I am pro-choice, but I do support some limits including limits on late term abortion and parental notification.

You can tell from the rest of his questionnaire that Johnson was running as a centrist consensus builder so his position on abortion appears to be a sensible compromise consistent with that political ethos. The problem with that is women’s bodies and healthcare are not analogous to tax rates or zoning ordinances. Arbitrary limitations like late term bans and parental notification requirements can cause devastating harm to real people, such as a woman who learns she is carrying a severely deformed fetus or a 15 year old who is terrified of her violent father. That’s why Planned Parenthood opposes them.

I don’t know Justin Johnson and I have a much respect for PPAZ so I’m going to give both the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Johnson has changed his position to a fully pro-choice one and PPAZ was evaluating him for his present stance. If so, great! Johnson should make a statement clarifying his new position to the pro-choice voters of District 4. If, on the other hand, his position is the same as it was in 2010, he really doesn’t deserve that endorsement.


  1. Comment by Aaron on June 20, 2013 3:26 pm

    I guess I don’t really understand why they would endorse council candidates at all anyway. What role do cities have in these matters? Honestly, I am not saying they have no role, but I don’t know what it is.

  2. Comment by Donna on June 20, 2013 3:47 pm

    It’s true that city councils rarely weigh in on culture war issues (they do from time to time as with the recent disability and LGBT equality ordinance) but city council is often a launching pad for other political aspirations such as Congress, where a politician’s views on reproductive rights would matter a lot.

  3. Comment by Lee on June 20, 2013 7:32 pm

    City councils sometimes face zoning issues regarding reproductive health clinics.

    Anti-choice forces across the country have tried to have zoning changed to restrict or prevent clinic operations. Wichita notably faced this earlier this year.

    Conversely, pro-choice forces in various communities have found it necessary to ask that protest zone limits to be pushed back to prevent intimidation of their patients.

  4. Comment by Donna on June 20, 2013 8:32 pm

    Good points, Lee.

  5. Comment by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona on June 25, 2013 4:29 pm

    Hello and thank you Donna for your wonderful support of Planned Parenthood! Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona is proud to count Justin Johnson among our endorsed candidates in the Phoenix City Council District 4 race. Justin along with David Lujan and Laura Pastor, submitted 100% questionnaires and participated in face to face interviews with members of our board of directors. All three of these candidates can be counted upon to support unfettered access to comprehensive women’s health care at the city level and we are proud to endorse all three.

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