Planned Parenthood to appoint Baltimore health official as next president

Henrietta Strickland
September 13, 2018

A Chinese immigrant whose family fled her native country and was granted political asylum in the United States when she was aged eight was named Wednesday as Planned Parenthood's new president, the first doctor to hold the post in five decades. Saying her family was dependent on Medicaid and food stamps "and also on Planned Parenthood for health care", Wen continues by claiming she became an ER doctor because she "never wanted to turn any patients away".

"Like so many of our affiliate leaders, she is passionate about balancing public advocacy for reproductive freedom with the daily provision of quality health care", said Anna Quindlen, chair of the search committee. "For the last 102 years, no organization has done more for women's health than Planned Parenthood, and I'm truly honored to be named its president". Abortion-rights advocates fear that Kavanaugh will tilt the high court to the right, possibly opening the way for rulings that would reverse or weaken the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that established a nationwide right for women to have abortions. "As she likes to say, her whole life has been leading to this position". Prior to her tenure as Baltimore health commissioner, Wen was an emergency room doctor at two hospitals in the Boston area, including Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2017, she pioneered a new strategy to combat addiction by issuing a blanket prescription for the overdose reversal medication naloxone to every city resident, effectively making the drug widely available over-the-counter at pharmacies.

Dr Leana Wen will assume the role on November 12, six days after USA midterm elections in which Planned Parenthood's political wing plans to spend US$20 million on behalf of candidates who support abortion rights.

With Wen's encouragement, Baltimore sued the Trump administration for cutting funds for teen pregnancy prevention.

In her role at the Baltimore City Health Department, she oversees more than 1,000 employees, two clinics that provide more than 18,000 patients with reproductive health services, and medical programs for 180 Baltimore schools. She will take over the job from outgoing president Cecile Richards starting November 12.

"Growing up, Dr. Wen, as well as her mother and sister, relied on Planned Parenthood for health care", according to Planned Parenthood's announcement. "I know she'll be a champion for Planned Parenthood patients and for women, men and young people everywhere".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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