In her new book, ousted Planned Parenthood President said she was told to say “abortion” at every interview

By Dave Andrusko

Dr. Leana Wen
By Hotchocolita via Wikimedia Commons

Sacked Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen has led a charmed life since July 2019 when the PPFA board unceremoniously threw her out after less than a year at the helm of an organization that aborts over 340,000 babies a year. Her face and her byline pop up everywhere as a medical authority on everything from soup to nuts. Write her name into Google search and it’s clear the media adores her.

In addition to writing columns and appearing on television, Dr. Wen is also a “visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University’s Milken School of Public Health, where she is also a distinguished fellow at the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity.” (By the way, there is not a word in her bio about serving as PPFA’s president.)

Now, she has a new book out and Dr. Wen is making the rounds touting “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health,” which officially came out July 27. Hosts are not going to pretend she wasn’t the top official at Planned Parenthood. Besides Dr. Wen never misses a chance to get back at PPFA’s board, as we have written about herehere, and here.

Here’s the headline from Anna Medaris Miller’s interview with Dr. Wen: “Planned Parenthood’s former president says she was instructed to say the word ‘abortion’ in every interview.” 

There is a four-sentence synopsis that begins with these two bombs:

*Former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen said she was told to say abortion at every interview. 

*The pressure clashed with her vision to promote the organization’s non-abortion healthcare services.

Here’s how Miller’s story begins:

On her first full day on the job as Planned Parenthood’s president, Dr. Leana Wen appeared on ABC’s “The View” to talk about her vision for the organization. 

As the first physician at Planned Parenthood’s helm, Wen was dedicated to centering the organization in Americans’ psyche as a nonpartisan healthcare service provider. She talked about how women’s healthcare is healthcare, and how receiving screenings and medications doesn’t need to be political.

When the segment wrapped, Wen, who’d left her role as Baltimore’s health commissioner for the gig, was elated that it had resonated with the live, cheering audience. 

But her new colleagues at Planned Parenthood’s headquarters were not: Wen had failed to say the word “abortion.”

In her book, Wen explained further. 

After the ABC segment, a board member texted Wen: “Next time, make sure you talk about abortion,” Wen wrote in the book.

“You need to talk about abortion at every media interview,” a national staffer told her too. “You’re the president of Planned Parenthood. People expect that from you.”

If she didn’t say, “abortion,” it “sounds as if you’re ashamed of it,” another staffer later told Dr. Wen. “If we don’t talk about abortion openly, loudly, and proudly, as a positive moral good, then we are further stigmatizing it and the people who need it,” Wen said one colleague told her. 

It’s difficult to distinguish what Wen wrote in the book from what she said in the interview, but what is crystal-clear is that while Dr. Wen lauds the PPFA affiliates and many of staff at the national office [she has “deep empathy” and “profound appreciation” for them], she loathes the board that canned her. In Dr. Wen’s telling it, her ouster was all about politics, which makes perfect sense.

Two  concluding thoughts, both of which make Planned Parenthood’s board look even worse.

#1. Dr. Wen’s miscarriage prior to the birth of her second child.

Wen was struggling to make a decision [as the “2020 election loomed” the board “wanted to double down on its progressive, pro-abortion advocacy”] when she learned she’d suffered a miscarriage, something that “was devastating in a way that I couldn’t have anticipated,” she writes.

The pain was compounded by others in her organization suggesting she use the loss to explain her departure in July 2019. “This was offensive and hurtful on so many levels,” Wen wrote. 

Wen had told a colleague about her pregnancy loss, who told others without Wen’s consent. Once the idea to use the heartbreak for public relations purposes circulated, Wen decided to take control by writing an op-ed for the Washington Post “so as not to have this deeply personal experience stolen from me,” she wrote. 

“I could not fathom the additional trauma if this news were made public by others who wished to use it for their own purposes.” 


When the organization declined her request to have more time to decide on the ultimatum so she could recover with family, she knew what she had to do: leave. 

But before her lawyers could come to a mutually agreed upon departure statement, Planned Parenthood’s board voted her out. She learned about it through a New York Times news alert on her phone.

Once again, Wen took control of her narrative in an op-ed, this one for the New York Times

Dr. Wen is nothing if not media-savvy.

Planned Parenthood has had a nightmarish couple of years since Cecile Richards, an experienced Democrat party hack, resigned.

Dr. Wen didn’t understand, chose to ignore, or was determined to change the reality that PPFA’s only purpose in choosing a physician was the prestige associated with having a doctor at the top. Their monomaniacal obsession with abortion and abortion politics is, was, and always will be Job #1. That is why PPFA so loved Richards, who thrived in political combat.

“Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health” offers still more evidence that Planned Parenthood lives for killing unborn babies.