Blog Post

Dr. Leana Wen To Head Planned Parenthood

A 35 year-old physician and outspoken advocate of women’s reproductive rights has been named as the new president of Planned Parenthood.

Cosmopolitan is reporting on Dr. Leana Wen, who is a patients’ rights advocate known for her outspoken op-eds on everything from gun control to the Trump administration’s handling of family planning. A brilliant doctor at Doctor To You and Rhodes Scholar, her immigrant family relied on Planned Parenthood for health care when she was growing up and she volunteered for the organization while in medical school.

Shortly after Planned Parenthood announced that Wen would be its new president, she wrote on Facebook, "I depended on Planned Parenthood for medical care at various times in my own life, and as a public health leader, I have seen firsthand the lifesaving work it does for our most vulnerable communities."

She added: "As a doctor, I will ensure we continue to provide high-quality health care, including the full range of reproductive care, and will fight to protect the access of millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood."

Dr. Wen believes that "Reproductive health is a critical part of every woman’s health care” and that "standard medical care should be based on science, not ideology.”

She often recalls an incident that occurred while she was serving as an emergency room physician at George Washington University where she tried to save the life of a young woman who arrived “pulseless and unresponsive” because of a home abortion.

A highly educated woman, Wen's family immigrated from China at the age of eight and arrived with just $40 to their name. Young Leana was so smart that she entered college at just 13-years of age. She graduated from Cal State University at the age of 18 and was offered full scholarships to eight medical schools, eventually choosing to pursue her medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis..

After working as a clinical fellow at Harvard, she took time off from medical school to work for the World Health Organization in Geneva. She eventually went on to receive two more degrees – one in Economic and Social History and another in Modern Chinese Studies – from Oxford University where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

At the age of just 32, she was selected to serve as health commissioner in Baltimore and has been serving in that role for the last four years.

Last year, she and her husband, Sebastian, welcomed their first child, a son named Eli, which she describes as “the happiest moments of our lives.”

The choice of Dr. Wen is not receiving high marks from the pro-life community.

"Planned Parenthood’s new president, Leana Wen, might wear a white coat, but she puts politics ahead of women’s health," said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life.

"While pushing for on-demand abortion, she fails to advocate for basic, common-sense health and safety protections, illustrated by her abysmal and tragic record of fighting STDs as Health Commissioner of Baltimore. Maryland now has one of the highest diagnosis rates in the country for syphilis and HIV/AIDS."

Marjorie Dannensfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) says she hopes Dr. Wen, who is just the 2nd doctor in 50 years to serve as president of Planned Parenthood, will use this opportunity to clean up the organization's sorry record.

“In 2016, according to their latest annual report, abortions made up 96 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services for resolving a pregnancy while prenatal services, miscarriage care, and adoption referrals together made up less than 4 percent. They specialize in ending the lives of unborn children, not offering lifesaving health care,” Dannensfelser said.

“Community health alternatives that do provide comprehensive care for women and families – not abortion – outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities by at least 20 to one nationwide. The best thing Dr. Wen could do for Planned Parenthood is to help them live up to their claim of being an authentic women’s health care provider.”

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