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Now-fired Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen attends the Rolling Stone's Women Shaping The Future Brunch at the Altman Building on March 20, 2019 in New York City. Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images
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Leana Wen wouldn’t use ‘trans-inclusive’ language as Planned Parenthood president

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

July 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – As the Trump administration’s new rule cutting $60 million from Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer revenue goes into effect, and as a wave of state pro-life legislation has the American left in a panic, Planned Parenthood fired new president Dr. Leana Wen in a “secret meeting” today.

Wen, who led the country’s largest abortion business for less than a year, is leaving Planned Parenthood on seemingly worse terms than her predeceesor, Cecile Richards, did. Richards announced her departure – which came as the abortion vendor was still dealing with fallout from its baby-body-parts-for-sale scandal – in January 2018 and left at the end of April of that year.

More details are now emerging about Wen’s tumultuous stint at Planned Parenthood, including that she was trying to steer the organization away from solely focusing on abortion and political advocacy and that a point of tension between her and other staff was her refusal to use “trans-inclusive” language.

“I just learned that the @PPFA Board ended my employment at a secret meeting,” Wen tweeted today. “We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.” She has already been scrubbed from the “leadership” page of Planned Parenthood’s website

After the tweet about the surprise sacking, Wen then issued a longer statement, which again mentioned “philosophical differences” between her and the “new Board Chairs.” 

“I believe that 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 rights by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who understand reproductive health care as the fundamental health care that it is,” she said.

“The new Board leadership has determined that the priority of Planned Parenthood moving forward is to double down on abortion rights advocacy,” Wen wrote in an email to Planned Parenthood staff that she shared on Twitter. 

Richards was a political-savvy master fundraiser, Wen a former emergency room doctor. Planned Parenthood wanted a “more aggressive political leader,” according to The New York Times, which spoke with “two people familiar with the decision.”

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, tweeted that he is “not surprised” Planned Parenthood axed a “healthcare professional as its leader ... They pass themselves off as a healthcare organization; but they are a political machine for radical #Democrats who push for unrestricted #abortion.”

“Planned Parenthood’s ejection of its new president after less than a year is unsurprising given the friction we’ve seen over those months. Abortion is not health care and dressing it up in a white coat has not fooled the American people, so they fall back on the mainstay of their political machine,” commented Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser. 

“It is a sign that the abortion giant still overestimates its power in the new environment ushered in by the Trump administration – and that momentum is on the side of life,” Dannenfelser explained. “As our nation moves toward a legal consensus that is increasingly protective of unborn children at every stage, the abortion lobby insists that legislators have no right to intervene. The American people, through their elected representatives, are speaking clearly and deserve to be heard.”

Alexis McGill Johnson, a “lifelong political organizer” and longtime associate of Planned Parenthood, is now its acting president.

Wen didn’t want to use ‘trans-inclusive’ language suggesting men can have abortions

BuzzFeed reported that it “spoke to six sources familiar with Wen’s firing, all of whom named significant management issues as part of the board’s decision to oust Wen. At one point, Planned Parenthood’s board hired an executive management coach to improve Wen’s relationship with staff, two of the people said.”

That outlet also reported that the abortion company’s fundraising “saw a significant decline” under Wen’s leadership. She apparently had hired people “who knew nothing about Planned Parenthood” to “very senior leadership roles” as veteran senior staffers jumped ship.

Wen was also apparently high-maintenance; BuzzFeed previously reported on a 182-page handbook on “rules and tips for staffing Wen.”

Planned Parenthood sources told BuzzFeed that Wen was neither abortion-focused enough nor “trans-inclusive” enough:

When she first came on she had no interest in “the long-term future of abortion access work that had already been going on, saying there was no budget for it,” the source said, adding that they witnessed staff crying in meetings with Wen, feeling as if their decades-long expertise was being ignored.

Two sources told BuzzFeed News that Wen also refused to use “trans-inclusive” language, for example saying “people” instead of “women,” telling staff that she believed talking about transgender issues would “isolate people in the Midwest.” 

In May, Planned Parenthood’s National Board of Directors gained its first transgender member. 

“The leadership of Planned Parenthood, as the country’s premiere vendor of aborted baby body parts, is faced with the impossible task of defending the indefensible,” David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress told LifeSiteNews. “Neither Cecile Richards, nor Dr. Leana Wen, nor Alexis McGill Johnson, nor their eventual successor, can save Planned Parenthood from the judgment of history as the gravest violator of human rights that our country has ever seen.”

“Early termination of Leana Wen’s term will not change the pro-life community’s opposition to Planned Parenthood’s deadly business model,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “There is real momentum in defunding Planned Parenthood and protecting women from abortion industry abuses.”

Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life advocate whose conversion is portrayed in Unplanned, issued the following statement:

After putting her career and reputation as a doctor on the line in an effort to resuscitate the dying integrity of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen found out the hard way that she no longer fit in at the organization she has been championing for the past eight months. Planned Parenthood is a political organization, not a healthcare provider. A doctor just won’t get the job done. But she should have been given a more respectful notice than learning about her termination after a “secret meeting” that she wasn’t invited to. In short, she was fired without any knowledge of wrongdoing or diminished job performance. 

This is par for the course with Planned Parenthood. I get it in a very personal way since I volunteered, worked at and eventually ran a clinic in Texas for eight years. I was even awarded their Employee of the Year award not long before I was reprimanded on my job performance, yet I had maintained an exemplary record the entire time I was employed there. I know all about those “secret meetings.”  I quit working for Planned Parenthood ten years ago after watching a 13-week-old baby fight for its life in an ultrasound guided abortion. 

Dr. Wen also recently suffered her own pregnancy loss, which she shared publicly, just 10 days ago. And now she’s lost her job. In a time when her co-workers should be supporting her healing, they simply disregarded her recent loss and expected her to soldier on. Dr. Wen needs a community that will surround her and care for her right now in her time of need. We love quitters at And Then There Were None and would love to her find a new, life-affirming job, obtain legal counsel if she desires, heal from these traumatic events and overcome the betrayal of an organization who claims to “care, no matter what.” We have helped 530 other abortion workers find jobs they can be proud of, including seven doctors. We can help you too, Dr. Wen.

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