Recently-ousted Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen wrote a New York Times op-ed detailing the differences in philosophy and approach that led to her departure—and one of the main problems was that her desire for Planned Parenthood to be inclusive of pro-lifers.
Wen wrote that she did not want Planned Parenthood to just be viewed as a politically progressive abortion organization, but other leaders in the organization had other ideas.
Perhaps the greatest area of tension was over our work to be inclusive of those with nuanced views about abortion. I reached out to people who wrestle with abortion’s moral complexities, but who will speak out against government interference in personal medical decisions. I engaged those who identify as being pro-life, but who support safe, legal abortion access because they don’t want women to die from back-alley abortions. I even worked with people who oppose abortion but support Planned Parenthood because of the preventive services we provide — we share the desire to reduce the need for abortion through sex education and birth control.
Wen wrote that there was “immediate criticism that I did not prioritize abortion enough” and that she did not view abortion as a stand-alone issue.
Wen should not be mistaken for an ally of the pro-life cause, however. Despite her differences with Planned Parenthood about how much abortion should be emphasized, her goal is still to increase abortion access and normalize the procedure nationwide as standard healthcare.
“To counter those who associate the organization only with abortion and use this misconception to attack its mission, I wanted to tell the story of all of its services — and in so doing, to normalize abortion care as the health care it is,” Wen wrote.