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Leana Wen

Updated September 12, 2018 at 5:11 p.m. EST to include comments from Reggie Littlejohn.

BALTIMORE, Maryland, September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Months after the surprise departure of Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has announced Baltimore Health Commissioner Leanna Wen as the abortion giant’s new president.

“For the first time in nearly 50 years, a doctor will lead Planned Parenthood Federation of America,” the organization announced Wednesday. “Dr. Wen fiercely believes health care is a right for all. And she knows what it’s like to be a Planned Parenthood patient: growing up in an immigrant family, Dr. Wen came to Planned Parenthood for care.”

According to her biography at the Baltimore health department’s website, Wen was appointed the city’s health commissioner in 2015, before which she was an attending physician and Director of Patient-Centered Care at George Washington University’s Department of Emergency Medicine. She also taught at the university’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and has written, spoken, and consulted on various projects and in various publications and media outlets.

Under Wen’s leadership, the city of Baltimore sued the Trump administration over its reduction of federal funds to controversial teen pregnancy prevention programs, and resisted the president’s elimination of family planning grants to facilities involved in abortions.

Despite her public anti-Trump stances, it does not appear Wen has the same political and fundraising experience her predecessor did.

Wen herself opens a new introductory video by explaining that she arrived in the United States as an eight-year-old immigrant from China. She claims her family survived not only on Medicaid and food stamps, but on “health care” from Planned Parenthood.

“In the ER I saw what happens every day when people don’t have access to the basic right to health care,” she says, citing an example of a patient who died from a home abortion attempt. “She died because of a failure in our system,” Wen angrily claims.

Richards, who abruptly resigned in January after a 12-year run, tweeted her approval of her successor, claiming she “couldn't be prouder to welcome” someone who “has dedicated her career to fighting for health care for all.”

But while Planned Parenthood appears to be leaning heavily into Wen’s medical background to further the narrative that “abortion is health care,” pro-lifers argue nothing has changed.

“It’s a shame that the Hippocratic Oath, to heal and to do no harm to any patient, is not held in the highest regard by the physicians at Planned Parenthood,” Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins said. “Putting a doctor in [as president] of Planned Parenthood won’t change the fact that the overall mission of that organization is ensuring that many lives are ended at a huge profit to the nation’s number one abortion vendor. Abortion is not healthcare, and women deserve better than what Planned Parenthood wants to sell them.”

Wen’s background and new job are particularly ironic in light of Planned Parenthood’s support for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which supported China’s policy of forced abortions and sterilization. The Trump State Department announced last year it was pulling support for the fund specifically because of its complicity in China’s population-control efforts, but Richards called the move “cruel & dangerous.”

“Especially unsettling about Dr. Wen is her failure to take a stance against the abhorrent forced abortions in her native country,” commented Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson. “If she truly believes in female empowerment, she would spend more time fighting for them and less time fighting bureaucracy.”

“Dr. Wen states that she and her parents ‘fled China’ when she was nearly eight years old and were eventually granted asylum in the United States. Their flight would have taken place in the early 1990s, when forced abortion in China was rampant under the One Child Policy,” Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told LifeSiteNews. “She does not mention why her family fled. We don't know if they were fleeing forced abortion. The Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred in 1989.”

“Perhaps they fled China because of that. In either case, I hope her experience of China's brutal, repressive, totalitarian regime will lead her to call for an investigation of International Planned Parenthood’s strong connection to population control in China, including during the years when forced abortion was at its height,” Littlejohn continued. “I call upon her specifically to use her influence and international platform to condemn forced abortion in China and wherever else it occurs worldwide. Planned Parenthood has traditionally been silent on this issue. If they truly stand for ‘choice,’ they should be jumping up and down to stop forced abortion. Forced abortion is not a choice.”

Despite Wen’s stated commitment to healthcare, she is not expected to face questions about Planned Parenthood and its connection to population control in China, or the steep declines in actual health services at Planned Parenthood on her predecessor’s watch.