by Kelvey Vander Hart
In a shocking move, Planned Parenthood’s new president, Leana Wen, has finally acknowledged that providing access to abortion is the main mission of the organization.
The centrality of abortion to the very existence of Planned Parenthood has been denied for over a decade. Whether it be through trying to shift attention to various other services its clinics offer, or by utilizing the widely discredited statistic that abortions comprise only 3 percent of the organization’s annual activity, spokesmen have tried their hardest to deny the public image of Planned Parenthood simply being another abortion provider.
In a display of unusual honesty, Wen doesn’t seem to have any problem embracing the fact that Planned Parenthood is responsible for the death of thousands upon thousands of unborn babies each year. In a tweeted response to a misconstrued interview she did with Buzzfeed News, she commented:
First, our core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight – it’s a fundamental human right and women’s lives are at stake.
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) January 8, 2019
While Wen had agreed to do an interview with Buzzfeed, she had a problem with the title they gave the piece: “Planned Parenthood’s New President Wants To Focus On Nonabortion Health Care.” The article discusses how one of her first goals as a new president is to increase or add health services that operating clinics provide. However, a clarification from Wen is also quoted:
The last thing I would want is people to get the impression that we are backing off of our core services. What we will always be here to do is provide abortion access as part of the full spectrum of reproductive health care, it’s who we are.
This refusal to hide what Planned Parenthood actually exists to do represents a break from the organization’s past leaders. Wen’s immediate predecessor, Cecile Richards, was an avid advocate for abortion “rights,” but was also fairly public in denying that abortion was central to the organization’s mission. Wen became Planned Parenthood’s new president early in September 2018. She is the first medical doctor to be at the helm of the organization in nearly fifty years.
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0