Ex-Planned Parenthood head claims abortion giant wanted to exploit her miscarriage in new book

Former Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen speaks during The Wall Street Journal's Future Of Everything Festival at Spring Studios on May 20, 2019, in New York City.
Former Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen speaks during The Wall Street Journal's Future Of Everything Festival at Spring Studios on May 20, 2019, in New York City. | Getty Images/Nicholas Hunt

Former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen claims in a new book that the abortion giant tried to exploit her miscarriage as a public relations stunt, adding that pro-choice critics blasted her public grief for stigmatizing abortion. 

Wen, an emergency physician and former Baltimore health commissioner, only served as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund president for eight months from late 2018 into 2019 and cited “philosophical” differences with the organization after the board voted her out of the top position. 

In her new book released last week, Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health, she explains how the nation's largest abortion provider urged her to blame her departure from the organization on her miscarriage that she suffered during the end of her tenure at the organization. 

She said her loss from miscarriage was “devastating in a way that I couldn’t have anticipated,” Business Insider reported

Planned Parenthood reportedly encouraged Wen to use her miscarriage to explain her departure as president of the organization even though the actual reason was her difference in opinion on the organization's future. 

"This was offensive and hurtful on so many levels," she wrote. 

She detailed the heartbreak of her miscarriage in a Washington Post op-ed published in July 2019.

“When the test results confirmed [pregnancy loss], I felt numb,” Wen wrote in the article intended to “break the silence and shame that often come with pregnancy loss.”

Wen, who has two children, said she “could not fathom the additional trauma” if the news of her miscarriage was made public by those wishing to use it to promote their purpose. She said that her miscarriage made her commitment to women’s healthcare “even stronger,” criticizing state laws that allow investigations into mothers who've miscarried. 

"What cruelty would that be, to compound the trauma of my miscarriage with the indignity of a government investigation into my personal medical records?" she wrote in the op-ed. 

When she spoke of the heartbreak from her miscarriage openly, Wen claimed Planned Parenthood activists criticized her, arguing that the discussion of the grief of pregnancy loss stigmatized abortion, according to Business Insider. 

An estimated one in four women has experienced a miscarriage, and the cause is often unknown. Women often experience grief and emotional lows after losing a baby to a miscarriage. 

Wen shared in July 2019 a New York Times op-ed regarding her departure from the organization that she sought to focus more on women’s healthcare during her tenure as president. But Planned Parenthood sought a more abortion-centric political mission.

When Planned Parenthood’s board finally voted her out of her position, she learned of the news from a New York Times news alert on her phone. 

Wen said she attempted to “depoliticize” Planned Parenthood and turn it from a “progressive political entity” into a “mainstream health care organization." However, she and her team faced opposition from within.

"But the team that I brought in, experts in public health and health policy, faced daily internal opposition from those who saw my goals as mission creep," she wrote. "There was even more criticism as we worked to change the perception that Planned Parenthood was just a progressive political entity and show that it was first and foremost a mainstream health care organization. "

In her farewell message to colleagues, Wen cited "philosophical differences over the best way to protect reproductive health."

“While the traditional approach has been through prioritizing advocating for abortion rights, 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. 

Though she said she was passionate about protecting abortion access, she did not see it as a “stand-alone issue." 

"Ultimately, my departure is not about me or the organization I continue to care deeply about," she wrote. "It goes beyond the movement for reproductive rights to the very ethos of our country. Can we put aside partisan differences to do what is best for the people we serve? Will the conversation continue to be dominated by a vocal minority from both ends of the spectrum, or can there be space for those of us in the middle to come together around shared values?"

Alexis McGill Johnson, a social justice advocate, replaced Wen and now serves as the Planned Parenthood president. 

Cassy Fiano-Chesser of the pro-life activist organization Live Action argued Sunday that Planned Parenthood tried to "exploit her miscarriage."

"Planned Parenthood wants Americans to believe it is a health care organization, but as soon as a medical doctor arrived on the scene who wanted to refocus its mission to health care, Planned Parenthood removed her, replacing her with another political organizer focused on abortion," Fiano-Chesser wrote. "Rather than admit its true goal of expanding abortion and its motivation behind firing Wen (she wasn’t pro-abortion enough), Planned Parenthood tried to use her tragic miscarriage to hide the truth and silence her."

Emily Wood is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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