The recently fired president of Planned Parenthood, Leana Wen, accused the nation’s single largest abortion provider of hypocrisy and lack of care for women’s health in an angry letter to the group’s board of directors, made public over the weekend.
Planned Parenthood’s board of directors fired Wen in July. The group claimed that Wen and the board disagreed about her management style, according to The Washington Examiner, but Wen says that the organization forced her out because she refused to put the political fight for abortion rights front and center, making it a higher priority than Planned Parenthood’s overall commitment to women’s health care.
At the time, the news of Wen’s departure made headlines, particularly in pro-life circles, because it revealed Planned Parenthood’s true agenda: expanding and promoting the practice of abortion at all costs. In Wen’s own words from her letter to the board published this weekend, Planned Parenthood’s most vocal activists “prefer a stridently political, abortion-first philosophy,” that ultimately devalues women’s lives.
In her letter, Wen makes clear exactly what led to her departure less than a year after taking the reins from longtime Planned Parenthood matriarch, Cecile Richards: “I wanted to emphasize total women’s health. They wanted to double down on abortion rights.”
It is now clear that, since her firing, Wen has been engaged in a dispute with Planned Parenthood’s top brass over her public statements about the organization, and, it seems, they’d prefer her to keep quiet about how Planned Parenthood conducts its business internally.
In her letter, Wen, who is currently pregnant, accuses Planned Parenthood of holding her continued healthcare benefits hostage to her signing a blanket non-disclosure agreement — literally imperiling the health and well-being of a pregnant woman — and charges the group with hypocrisy for “gagging” her even as the Trump administration imposes its own global gag rule on abortion providers.
“It is deeply hypocritical [that Planned Parenthood] would attempt to enforce a gag order on its immediate past President/CEO while fighting the Trump administration’s gag rule on Title X providers,” Wen wrote, referring directly to a recent Planned Parenthood decision to withdraw from taking Federal Title X funds over the Trump administration’s decision to forbid those who receive federal funds from actively promoting abortion.
In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Wen said she regrets that her falling out with Planned Parenthood has become public, but says she’s being targeted as a reproductive healthcare provider and as a woman speaking out for other women.
“They want to silence my voice as a public health expert,” she said. “I simply will not sign away my right to speak my mind. I won’t compromise my integrity.”
“I’m a doctor. I have to be able to speak to my patients about reproductive health care. I’m a professor. I have to be able to speak to my students about reproductive health care,” Wen added. “I cannot be gagged.”
Through their attorney, Planned Parenthood’s board of directors claimed to the Sun that they were still in negotiations with Wen over her ongoing compensation and that they’d offered her a severance package in line with what Planned Parenthood typically provides. Wen countered by saying that her contract specified specific treatment if she were to be fired and that Planned Parenthood’s severance package runs counter to the already agreed-upon salary and benefits, and blames Planned Parenthood for preferring the NDA over honoring their agreement.