Leana Wen's Departure from Planned Parenthood Gets Messier, Somehow

Leana Wen's Departure from Planned Parenthood Gets Messier, Somehow

Dr. Leana Wen, the former president of Planned Parenthood who was fired earlier this summer over disagreements about her management style as well as her push to “depoliticize” the organization, is not going quietly. As reported by the New York Times, Wen is now accusing the organization of “withholding her health insurance and departure payout as ‘ransom’ to pressure her to sign a confidentiality agreement.”

More from the Times:

She made the accusations in a barbed 1,400-word letter to Planned Parenthood’s board of directors this past week, which was obtained by The New York Times. “No amount of money can ever buy my integrity and my commitment to the patients I serve,” Dr. Wen wrote.
In her recent letter, she left open the possibility of legal action. “I have no desire to file claims against Planned Parenthood for defamation, retaliation, or discrimination,” she wrote ominously. She said that Planned Parenthood was demanding her silence “in exchange for my contractually-guaranteed severance and continued health insurance coverage,” calling the efforts “unjust” and “unethical.”

Wen is right in pointing out that non-disclosure agreements are generally a fucked up tool used to silence people. But in the letter, Wen astonishingly compared Planned Parenthood’s actions to the Trump administration’s recent Title X rule changes. “It is deeply hypocritical,” she wrote, according to the Times, that Planned Parenthood, “would attempt to enforce a gag order on its immediate past President/CEO while fighting the Trump administration’s gag rule on Title X providers.”

According to Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood’s senior vice president for communications, “Dr. Wen’s recent allegations are unfortunate, saddening, and simply untrue.” Newman told the Times that the organization had “proposed language to reasonably meet her concerns about the scope of the confidentiality clause.”

Wen clearly wants to speak. Days after she was fired, Wen published an op-ed in the New York Times in which she aired out what she called her “philosophical differences” with the organization’s leadership over how to protect and expand abortion access. “I have long believed that the most effective way to advance reproductive health is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one,” she wrote, an astonishing position to take for the head of an organization that has become the figurehead, for better or worse, of an issue that has been forcibly politicized by anti-abortion foes.

Wen, who is now a visiting professor at George Washington University, continues to push that misguided opinion. In her recent letter to the board, she stressed that depoliticizing “abortion care is the best way to protect it.” But, she continued, “there is a vocal minority who prefer a stridently political, abortion-first philosophy.”

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