Buzzfeed recently posted an interview with Dr. Leana Wen, the 35-year-old new head of Planned Parenthood. Dr. Wen inherits the role from Cecile Richards, who many Americans may remember from a very heated appearance before Congress in 2015. At the time, she was brought before lawmakers to discuss how the organization used its $500 million in federal funding. (Legally, that money can’t be used for abortion.)
One of her major talking points at the time was emphasizing how abortion accounted for only a small portion of their services. The organization claimed that “Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services” (a stat that has been disputed).
However, Dr. Wen seems to want to change that perception of their mission.
The headline of the Buzzfeed piece read, “Planned Parenthood’s New President Wants To Focus On Nonabortion Health Care”. That did not seem to sit well with Dr. Wen.
In a series of tweets, she said, “I am always happy to do interviews, but these headlines completely misconstrue my vision for Planned Parenthood. First, our core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight—it’s a fundamental human right and women’s lives are at stake.”
I am always happy to do interviews, but these headlines completely misconstrue my vision for Planned Parenthood. https://t.co/Bt06dpUoqZ
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) January 8, 2019
Despite the headline, in the article, Dr. Wen, clearly told Buzzfeed that “The last thing I would want is people to get the impression that we are backing off of our core services. What we will always be here to do is provide abortion access as part of the full spectrum of reproductive health care, it’s who we are. But we also recognize that for so many of our patients we are their only source of health care.”
It marks an interesting change in tone from the era of “safe, legal and rare”—an abortion philosophy coined by President Bill Clinton and embraced by many pro-choice advocates in the past. Now, the organization seems to want people to know their primary focus is providing abortions.