by Kelvey Vander Hart
After less than a year on the job, Dr. Leana Wen has been removed from her position as president of Planned Parenthood.
Wen cited “philosophical differences” in a statement released after her ouster was announced, adding:
I believe the best way to protect abortion care is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one, and that we can expand support for reproductive health care as the fundamental health care that it is.
Before releasing her statement, Wen tweeted that Planned Parenthood had made the decision about her employment status in a “secret meeting” instead of continuing the negotiations for a quiet departure.
Former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life advocate, Abby Johnson, took Wen’s secret meeting comment as a chance to reach out, tweeting:
Leana, I know exactly how Planned Parenthood works and know ALL about their secret meetings. If you ever want to talk about your experience (in complete confidence), I’m here. I will help in any way I can through your transition. ❤️— Abby Johnson (@AbbyJohnson) July 16, 2019
Wen took over the leadership position late in 2018 when the organization’s former president, Cecile Richards, stepped down. Formerly the health commissioner for the city of Baltimore, she was the second medical doctor to run the organization.
Replacing Wen on an interim basis is Alexis McGill Johnson, who is now the acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood. She was on the organization’s board for almost a decade, serving as the chairman from 2013 to 2015.
“Alexis is a renowned social justice leader, lifelong political organizer, and a tireless advocate for reproductive rights and access to quality, affordable health care,” commented board members in a joint statement.
Wen’s advocacy disagreements made it clear that Planned Parenthood’s board wants to move in a political direction that promotes abortion even more than the organization currently does. If Wen was viewed as not political enough to lead the group, pro-lifers should double down and get ready for someone even more radical to be tapped for the leadership position.
Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0