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ELLE, The Nation, Esquire, Jill Filipovic, and Jamilah Lemieux Among Planned Parenthood’s 2015 Maggie Award Winners for Media Excellence

First-Ever Global Maggie Awarded to Ugandan Transgender Rights Activist and Documentary Filmmaker, First-Ever Men’s Magazine Maggie Awarded to John H. Richardson of Esquire

NEW YORK, NY — Last night, Planned Parenthood Federation of America presented the 2015 Maggie Awards for Media Excellence in 15 categories to journalists, activists, and social media innovators for their exceptional coverage of reproductive rights, social justice, and women’s health care issues.

“We are thrilled to honor this select group of fearless journalists and activists for their always honest, brave, and accurate reporting on sexual and reproductive health,” said Cecile Richards president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “These are the stories that empower and educate — the stories of women, communities of color, members of the LGBT community — and it is incredibly important that these stories are told and amplified over the next year. There is just too much at stake to stay quiet.”

"You cannot cover health without covering women’s health, and you cannot cover women’s health without covering reproductive rights,” said Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy, Yahoo! Health 2015 Maggie Award Recipient in the Online Reporting Category.

This year, for the first time, Planned Parenthood Global awarded a new category in Media Excellence for Global journalism, which was presented to Jonny von Wallström & Cleo Kambugu, the creator and subject of Pearl of Africa, a unique documentary about life inside the Ugandan LGBT movement. It follows Cleo, a transgender woman from Uganda who works at the East African Sexual Health and Rights Initiative, as she questions gender expression and identity, reshapes attitudes and uncovers new realities apart from stigma and prejudice.

"The irony is that in East Africa, homosexuality is often criticized as a Western import, when in fact it is the hate and prejudice that is imported from the West," said Cleo Kambugu, 2015 Global Maggie Award recipient, highlighting that the same extremists are working against reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights in the U.S. and abroad in countries like Uganda.

This year, also for the first time, Planned Parenthood awarded a new category for Men’s Magazine, which was presented to John H. Richardson of Esquire magazine for his deeply powerful profile of Dr. Parker’s life and career, The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker. A truly remarkable contribution to our efforts to demystify and destigmatize the lives of abortion providers across the country in a mainstream outlet targeted at men.

"We [at Esquire] don't really think of [reproductive health] as a women's issue - it's a national issue." John H. Richardson, 2015 Maggie Award Recipient in the Men's Magazine Category. "It's not just abortion. It's everything. It's all so personal ... I had an incredible privilege to be let into those people’s lives at that moment."

The highest honor of the evening, the Excellence in Media Award, went to The Nation for its 150 years of exceptional coverage and analysis of politics, culture, and social justice issues. Katha Pollitt, author of The Nation’s “Subject to Debate” column, for which she has won a National Magazine Award and two previous PPFA Maggie Awards, accepted the award on behalf of the outlet.

​"It is so important that we connect reproductive rights and economic rights and the right not just to not have a baby when you don't want to have one, but to have that child and raise it well,” said Katha Pollitt, while accepting the 2015 Maggie Award for Media Excellence on behalf of The Nation.

This year’s Maggie Award winners covered a range of topics, including abortion stigma, the challenges faced by sexual assault survivors, women’s health in Texas, and the LGBT movement in Uganda.

The 2015 Maggie Award winners are: 
Excellence in Commentary: Jamilah Lemieux, for her always thought-provoking commentary for EBONY.com, addressing politics, culture, race and reproductive justice. 
Outstanding Individual Commentary: Valerie Tarico, Salon, for her piece “I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice: 10 reasons why we must support the procedure and the choice" on Salon. Among her incredible body of work, this piece stands out as a very real contribution to combating abortion stigma. 
TV & Online Reporting: Jill Filipovic, Cosmopolitan.com, for her piece, “Why Opponents of a New Planned Parenthood Are Doing Everything in Their Power to Stop It" on Cosmopolitan.com and her subsequent coverage of this issue on Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC. This coverage was critical in clarifying misinformation and exposing the harsh opposition on the ground in New Orleans. 
Online Reporting: Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy, Yahoo! Health, for her consistent and compelling coverage of reproductive health and rights issues in both the health and political space. 
Online Health Reporting: Casey Gueren, Buzzfeed Life, for her commitment to sharing accurate and engaging sexual and reproductive health information with a large Millennial audience. 
Online Political Reporting: Aura Bogado, Colorlines, for her consistent and thought-provoking coverage of racial justice, immigration community organizing, and voting rights. 
Online Documentary: Fazeelat Aslam, VICEnews.com, for her piece, “Misconception: The Fake Abortion Clinics of America" on VICEnews.com, which exposed the false information perpetuated by so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" and the harm they can do to women seeking care and the broader reproductive rights movement as a whole. 
Online Video Series: Liz Plank, Mic, for her Flip the Script series. In covering everything from women who choose not to have children to what it means to be a "Beyoncé voter," she continues to present such complex issues in relatable, fun, and satirical ways, making a notable contribution to the feminist movement writ large. 
Women’s Magazine: Laurie Abraham & Leah Chernikoff, from ELLE magazine & ELLE.com. Laurie Abraham is receiving the award for her incredibly brave and poignant piece sharing her personal abortion story, “It’s Complicated” that appeared in print (online version available here). Leah Chernikoff, is receiving the award for Elle.com’s powerful "I Had an Abortion" series.
Men’s Magazine: John H. Richardson, Esquire, for his piece, “The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker.” This deeply powerful profile of Dr. Parker’s life and career, in a mainstream outlet targeted at men, was a truly remarkable contribution to our efforts to demystify and destigmatize the lives of abortion providers across the country. 
Youth Media: Phillip Picardi, TeenVogue.com, for leading the coverage of accurate sexual health information on TeenVogue.com, a notably new direction for Teen Vogue. Their young readers are the demographic that has some of the highest risks for sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. 
Social Media Campaign: Wagatwe Wanjuki, #SurvivorPrivilege, for her powerful response to George Will’s column in which he declared that being a survivor of sexual assault has become “a coveted status that confers privilege.” Her #SurvivorPrivilege response called out his offensive and inaccurate claims while simultaneously shedding light on the real challenges that survivors face. 
Media Activist: Sadie Hernandez, The People’s Veto, for starting the People’s Veto campaign calling for Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott to reject the state's lawmakers’ decision to cut Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings (BCCS) program. Her protest outside the Governor’s Mansion and her commitment to ensure that all women are able to access affordable cancer screenings inspired us all. 
Global: Jonny von Wallström & Cleo Kambugu, Pearl of Africa, for his unique and moving documentary focused on the LGBT movement in Uganda, highlighting Cleo’s personal story of hardship and hope as a transgender woman living Uganda. 
Excellence in Media: The Nation, for 150 years of exceptional coverage and analysis of politics, culture, and social justice issues.

The awards were hosted by Tai Beauchamp who is a TV personality, host, lifestyle authority and content creator. She is the founder of Tai Life Media, LLC and creator of theTaiLife.com.

You can read more about the Planned Parenthood Maggie Awards here. Check back in early 2016 for nomination forms for the 2016 awards at Planned Parenthood’s Centennial Celebration.


Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America Media Office: 212-261-4433; [email protected]


August 19, 2015


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