- Planned Parenthood has removed Leana Wen as president of the organisation, after only eight months on the job.
- She was forced out following a “secret meeting” held by the organisation’s board. A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman disputed Wen’s description of the meeting to INSIDER.
- Her removal comes amid polarising abortion debates playing out across the country.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
The president of Planned Parenthood is out after less than a year on the job, amid a polarising debate over abortion rights playing out across the country.
The news follows an emergency board meeting held on Tuesday, in which Dr. Leana Wen was removed from her position. In an initial tweet, Wen wrote “I just learned that the @PPFA Board ended my employment at a secret meeting. We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.”
A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman disputed Wen’s description of the meeting to INSIDER. She said it was a scheduled board meeting and not held in secret.
Wen later released her official statement on Twitter. “I am leaving because the new Board Chairs and I have philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood,” Wen wrote. “I will always stand with Planned Parenthood, as I continue my life’s work and mission of caring for and fighting for women, families, and communities.”
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) July 16, 2019
Wen took on the position last November, following the departure of the organisation’s longtime president Cecile Richards. Before that, she served as Baltimore’s health commissioner for four years.
During Wen’s time as president, various states passed stringent laws to restrict abortion access, part of a concerted effort to overturn Roe v. Wade. Under a Trump administration rule that went into effect on Monday, federally-funded family planning clinics will now also be barred from providing abortion referrals.
“We thank Dr. Leana Wen for her service to Planned Parenthood in such a pivotal time and extend our best wishes for her continued success,” Aimee Cunningham and Jennie Rosenthal, the chairwomen of the organisation’s two boards, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a joint statement.
Alexis McGill Johnson, co-founder of the Perception Institute, a research group focused on reducing bias and discrimination, was announced by the board as Wen’s temporary replacement. Johnson has served as a Planned Parenthood board member for almost a decade, including a stint as the organisation’s Board Chair from 2013 to 2015.
“I’m proud to serve as Acting President to facilitate a smooth leadership transition in this critical moment for Planned Parenthood and the patients and communities we serve,” Johnson tweeted.“I thank Dr. Wen for her service and her commitment to patients.”
- Read more:
- Before Roe v. Wade, desperate women used coat hangers, Coke bottles, Clorox, and sticks in attempted abortions
- Reproductive rights groups are suing to keep Georgia’s restrictive abortion ban from ever going into effect
- Amy Klobuchar drew loud cheers when she reminded Washington Gov. Jay Inslee that there are 3 women on the Democratic debate stage Wednesday ‘who have fought for a woman’s right to choose’
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