Planned Parenthood has come under attack during the presidential election, as pro-life Republicans attempt to cut funding for the organization that provides abortions and an array of other medical services for women.
“It’s pretty terrifying,” says Scarlett Johansson. “Somehow, a woman’s right to choose has become a subject that’s on the Republican platform. I don’t really know what it has to do with politics at all. It seems to be a deeply personal issue.”
|Warwick Saint for Variety|
Growing up in New York, the actress relied on Planned Parenthood for regular checkups, she says.
“I used them to screen me for STDs or take care of my reproductive health, as did all my girlfriends. When I was asked to represent their initiative, it was a no-brainer.”
Planned Parenthood turns 100 this year, with 650 health centers across the U.S. that see 2.5 million patients a year for cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing, and breast exams.
Johansson is a major advocate of such services. In 2012, she made Planned Parenthood and women’s health central themes of her speech at the Democratic National Convention. Two years later, she helped design T-shirts to boost voting in the midterm elections, and she has recorded an audio message that encourages listeners to enroll in less-expensive insurance options available through the Affordable Care Act.
Her high-profile efforts on behalf of the nonprofit don’t stop there, according to Caren Spruch, Planned Parenthood’s director of arts and entertainment engagement.
“She even filmed a video about the impact that Congressional assaults would have on millions of women who rely on Planned Parenthood when she was on location shooting a film,” Spruch says.
Johansson is enhancing her efforts by publicly backing Hillary Clinton, who has vowed to support Planned Parenthood if elected president.
“Hillary is the right candidate for right now,” Johansson says. “I think she’s got a lot of integrity. She’s got a lot of stamina. She’s a very clever politician, and that’s actually important to me. Maybe it’s because I have a daughter now.”