WASHINGTON (CNS) — Following the news Dr. Leana Wen was fired by Planned Parenthood as its president, several pro-life leaders remarked that the organization was upset the physician had emphasized the need to expand Planned Parenthood services beyond abortion.
“Leana Wen entered Planned Parenthood to great fanfare. As a physician, it was anticipated that she would evolve the organization, long seen as a partisan platform, into a health care institution,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life.
“And when Dr. Wen tried to do precisely that, she was fired. She refused to allow abortion to dominate Planned Parenthood’s agenda, all the way from the very top down to every talking point,” she added in a July 18 statement. “Dr. Wen’s termination is emphatic proof that Planned Parenthood has been, is and will be nothing more than a political machine.”
Various news reports said Wen wanted to provide additional services such as mental health and substance abuse resources, but, according to Americans United for Life, “anonymous Planned Parenthood employees referred to these treatments as ‘mission creep.'”
In a July 19 op-ed in The New York Times, Wen wrote: “In my farewell message to colleagues, I cited philosophical differences over the best way to protect reproductive health. While the traditional approach has been through prioritizing advocating for abortion rights, I have long believed that the most effective way to advance reproductive health is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one.”
She added, “I believed we could expand support for Planned Parenthood — and ultimately for abortion access — by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who can unite behind the goal of improving the health and well-being of women and children.”
Planned Parenthood announced Alexis McGill Johnson, co-founder of the anti-bias research group Perception Institute and Planned Parenthood board member, will temporarily replace Wen until a new president is hired.
American Life League’s president, Judie Brown, said Wen “was trumpeted as the first doctor to lead Planned Parenthood since Dr. Alan Guttmacher in the 1970s.”
“Wen came into Planned Parenthood looking to move Planned Parenthood out of the political arena and into actual health care. She lasted only eight months,” Brown said.
Wen “discovered” that Planned Parenthood, she said, “is not now, nor has it ever been, a health care organization. (It) is an organization established to promote the humanist religion, to lead our young people to hell, and to make a lot of money along the way so it can buy influence with politicians and media.”
Other reaction included a July 16 tweet from Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood clinic director who became a pro-life activist. She is the author of “Unplanned,” a book about her change of heart on the abortion issue that has been made into a major motion picture.
“Our job is to reach out to Dr. Leana Wen in love,” Johnson tweeted. “Snarky memes & words will not bring about conversion. Let us also remember that she is a woman grieving the loss of a miscarried child. Let us treat her with care, not callousness. Let’s be the people we say we are.”
Wen, who was Baltimore’s heath commissioner before being hired by Planned Parenthood, has been public about having suffered a miscarriage in early July.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103