Ousted Planned Parenthood chief accuses abortion giant of ‘ransoming’ pay to keep her quiet
September 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood withheld the health insurance and severance pay owed to Leana Wen in hopes of pressuring her to sign a confidentiality agreement, the abortion giant’s former president claimed in a letter leaked to The New York Times.
Planned Parenthood fired Wen in July, less than a year after appointing her to succeed retiring abortion chief Cecile Richards, based on unrest within the organization and a perceived need for a “more aggressive political leader” to resist pro-life legislative efforts across the country.
Wen claimed the final decision came in a “secret meeting” that blindsided her amid “good faith negotiations about my departure.” She later said “there was immediate criticism that I did not prioritize abortion enough,” and was also reportedly faulted for concluding that “trans-inclusive language” would “isolate people in the Midwest.”
On Saturday, the Times reported that it has obtained a “barbed 1,400-word letter” Wen wrote to the abortion giant’s board of directors this past week concerning the contentious negotiations over her severance package. Wen accuses Planned Parenthood of pressuring her to sign a confidentiality agreement “in exchange for my contractually-guaranteed severance and continued health insurance coverage,” which she says amounts to a “ransom” and “permanent gag on my voice.”
“I have no desire to file claims against Planned Parenthood for defamation, retaliation, or discrimination,” she wrote, but found it “deeply hypocritical” that the abortion giant “would attempt to enforce a gag order on its immediate past President/CEO while fighting the Trump administration’s gag rule on Title X providers.”
“Dr. Wen’s recent allegations are unfortunate, saddening, and simply untrue,” Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Melanie Newman told the Times in response. “The attorneys representing the board have made every good faith effort to amicably part from Dr. Wen, and are disappointed that they have been unable to reach a suitable resolution regarding her exit package.”
Newman says Wen remains salaried through mid-October and insured through the end of October, and that the organization has offered her a full additional year of compensation “under terms that are standard and consistent with her employment agreement and any reasonable executive exit package,” as well as “proposed language to reasonably meet her concerns about the scope of the confidentiality clause.”
“We had expected to reach resolution and finalize the package in the coming days,” she claimed. “Our work is more necessary than ever, and we have never been more committed to it than we are today.”
Following the report, Wen released a statement that she was “very disappointed” that her letter was leaked:
I am very disappointed that my confidential letter to @PPFA Board is leaked to @nytimes. There should be no dispute regarding the terms of my employment contract. I will not be forced to sign a gag clause and compromise my integrity. Full statement here. pic.twitter.com/P6MaH1Hnke— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) September 14, 2019
“The Board exercised its right to terminate my employment without cause, which requires them to pay severance and cover my family’s health insurance,” Wen said. “Now, they refuse to honor my employment contract unless I agree to a gag clause. To be clear: I will never sign a gag clause that takes away my voice as a public health expert.”
Planned Parenthood originally picked Wen to succeed Richards on the theory that her background as Baltimore Health Commissioner would help frame abortion as healthcare. During her tenure, pro-lifers and others criticized Wen for making various false claims, while taking pleasure in her January admission that abortion was Planned Parenthood’s “core mission,” rather than a side practice dwarfed by legitimate health services.