The former head of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen was forced to part ways with the “women’s health” provider because she did not promote abortion enough in public interviews, according to Wen’s new book, “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.”
The organization also wanted Wen to use a miscarriage she suffered just before she left her post at Planned Parenthood as her public excuse for stepping down after just nine months with the organization, according to Business Insider.
“On her first full day on the job as Planned Parenthood’s president, Dr. Leana Wen appeared on ABC’s ‘The View’ to talk about her vision for the organization,” Business Insider detailed based on Wen’s book. “When the segment wrapped, Wen, who’d left her role as Baltimore’s health commissioner for the gig, was elated that it had resonated with the live, cheering audience. But her new colleagues at Planned Parenthood’s headquarters were not: Wen had failed to say the word ‘abortion.’”
In fact, Wen says she was expected by Planned Parenthood to promote abortion, which the clinic chain claims makes up just 3% of its services, every time she appeared in public. If she failed to say the word, “abortion” in interviews or mention the service, she was accused of further stigmatizing the procedure.
“Dr. Leana Wen was given an ultimatum: Change her strategy as president of Planned Parenthood, or leave,” the outlet noted. “The emergency physician and former Baltimore health commissioner had tried to position the organization as a nonpartisan healthcare institution, but its board wanted to double down on its progressive, pro-abortion advocacy.”
“You need to talk about abortion at every media interview,” Wen says she was told by a Planned Parenthood staffer. “You’re the president of Planned Parenthood. People expect that from you. Not saying ‘abortion’ sounds as if you’re ashamed of it.”
“If we don’t talk about abortion openly, loudly, and proudly, as a positive moral good, then we are further stigmatizing it and the people who need it,” Wen claimed she was told.
Wen believed that Planned Parenthood should approach the issue of abortion with more care, believed using “pro-abortion” language alienated people whose decision to get one was painful, and that Planned Parenthood could be more attuned to people whose views on abortion were “nuanced,” and focus more on the abortion provider’s other services.
What ultimately led to Wen’s departure was the realization that Planned Parenthood was more concerned with its political advocacy than providing actual health care to women.
‘Wen said, ultimately, the tension between her and those around her wasn’t just about abortion but about politics,” Business Insider noted. “Planned Parenthood sees itself as a liberal advocacy organization, outspoken on issues loosely related to healthcare, like net neutrality, defunding the police, and DC’s statehood, she wrote.”
“I was given a choice: change, or leave,” she said.
While Wen was deciding whether to give up her position, she suffered a miscarriage. When she confided in a colleague what had happened, the colleague told higher-ups, who then “suggested she use the loss to explain her departure.” After she refused, Planned Parenthood’s board voted her out — a decision she says she learned about over text message from a news organization.
The former head of Planned Parenthood says she is still supportive of the organization’s mission.