Leana Wen Removed As Planned Parenthood President

Leana Wen appears in a pink dress
Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Dr. Leana Wen is no longer the president of Planned Parenthood. The physician was appointed to the position in November 2018, but the organization announced on Tuesday that they were ending her role with them, according to People. Wen was the first physician to lead the New York-based nonprofit.

Planned Parenthood tweeted out the news on Tuesday, thanking her for her work and wishing her the best in the future.

Wen, who is an emergency room physician, also posted about the news on Twitter, alleging she was outed during a secret meeting.

“I just learned that the PPFA Board ended my employment at a secret meeting,” Wen said on Twitter on Tuesday. “We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.”

In another statement she posted on Twitter, Wen implied the philosophical differences were about defending abortion care.

“I believe that the best way to protect abortion care is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one, and that we can expand support for reproductive rights by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who understand reproductive health care as the fundamental health care that it is,” she wrote.

She continued by saying that the board was planning to “double down on abortion rights advocacy” due to attacks on legal abortion care.

She also stated that she was a former patient of the organization and that she would continue to support Planned Parenthood, adding that the organization takes care of one-in-three American women.

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Planned Parenthood also announced that Alexis McGill would take over as acting president and CEO. The company described her as a social justice leader and advocate for reproductive rights. CNN states that the company will begin looking for a new president and CEO in early 2020, with a goal of finding a replacement by the end of that year.

The change comes as the nonprofit is battling state laws restricting abortion access, including a near-total abortion ban in Alabama and six-week abortion bans in Georgia and Ohio. In May, Alabama passed a bill banning almost all abortions, including those where rape or incest occurred, citing only serious medical risks to the mother or if the fetus has a fatal “anomaly.”

The group is also fighting back against the new Title X gag rule, which the group argued on social media puts birth control and essential care for millions at risk. New regulations now prohibit taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with patients. Planned Parenthood responded on Twitter, calling the rule “illegal” and saying they will not comply with it.