Planned Parenthood’s New President Is Dr. Leana Wen


Not Dr Welby, Boston, USA

ShutterstockSteven Senne/AP/REX/Shutterstock

After serving as president of Planned Parenthood for more than ten years, Cecile Richards announced in January 2018 that she’d be stepping away from the role, leaving a vacancy at the helm of the non-profit organization.

As of today, Sept. 12, Planned Parenthood’s presidency has been filled. Cecile Richards is seceded by Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and health commissioner to the city of Baltimore, marking the first instance in decades where a medical professional absorbs the responsibility of president.

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“For more than 100 years, no organization has done more for women’s health than Planned Parenthood, and I’m truly honored to be named its president,” Wen said in a statement released by Planned Parenthood.

According to Planned Parenthood, Wen graduated summa cum laude from California State University at the age of 18 before attending medical school—where she volunteered at a Planned Parenthood in St. Louis—and becoming a Rhodes Scholar. Wen has a long history of working for women’s healthcare rights, and credits Planned Parenthood to her family’s successful transition from China to the U.S.

“I’m an immigrant. When I was eight, my parents brought me here from China,” Wen explains in a video released by the non-profit. “We came to the U.S. with $40 to our name. We depended on Medicaid and food stamps, and also on Planned Parenthood for health care.”

In the video, Wen goes on to describe a patient’s failed home abortion, a fatal situation that inspired Wen to get involved with the political side of healthcare. The tragedy poised her for her transition from an emergency physician to becoming the health commissioner for the city of Baltimore.

“I remember seeing a young woman lying a stretcher pulseless and unresponsive because of a home abortion,” Wen describes. “Because she was too scared to seek medical care. I did everything that I could to resuscitate her. But she died. She died because of a failure in our system.”

As part of her service as health commissioner, Wen sued the Trump Administration (and won her case) when it cut Baltimore’s funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs, and fought against the gag rule that allowed doctors to withhold information about abortions as an option for teenage mothers.

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“We have to fight. Everything is at stake. There is no more important time than now, and no more important organization than Planned Parenthood,” Wen concludes in the video. Watch the full clip announcing her presidency below.


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