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Ex-Planned Parenthood president says she was forced out for not promoting abortion aggressively enough, was instructed to say 'abortion' during every interview

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

A former Planned Parenthood president claims that she was forced out of leadership for not promoting the organization's progressive, pro-abortion agenda aggressively enough.

Dr. Leana Wen, who served as president of the organization for a brief eight months between 2018 and 2019, was reportedly compelled to make a difficult choice early on in her tenure, Business Insider reported this week.

Dr. Leana Wen was given an ultimatum: Change her strategy as president of Planned Parenthood, or leave.

The emergency physician and former Baltimore health commissioner had tried to position the organization as a nonpartisan healthcare institution, but its board wanted to double down on its progressive, pro-abortion advocacy.

Wen made the claims in her book, "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health," released Tuesday, in which she also recalled that the organization instructed her to mention and promote abortion services every chance she got.

According to a separate Business Insider report, Wen recalled in the book that she was excited to promote the organization as a nonpartisan health care provider dedicated to helping women receive the medical attention they need.

During her first day on the job, she appeared on ABC's "The View" to discuss her vision for the organization. But after the segment aired, colleagues and others in the organization pounced on her for not mentioning "abortion," advising her to literally say the buzzword more.

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."

"Not saying 'abortion' sounds as if you're ashamed of it," another told her later.

... "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.

The pressure to advance the pro-abortion agenda over and above all other services ended up being a step too far even for Wen, who describes herself as pro-choice. The physician eventually left the organization in July 2019.

But her outgoing process was anything but smooth. As Wen was in process of deciding whether to resign or alter her leadership focus, she had a miscarriage, which she described in her book as "devastating in a way that I couldn't have anticipated."

Making matters worse, instead of supporting her during her time of grief some colleagues at Planned Parenthood callously suggested she use the miscarriage as a public relations explanation for her departure.

"This was offensive and hurtful on so many levels," Wen writes in the book.

In the end, Wen wasn't even afforded the dignity of a resignation. Rather, she was voted out by the organization's board, a decision she learned about through a news alert on her phone.

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