Planned Parenthood Names Leana Wen, a Doctor, Its brand-new President
Planned Parenthood, under fire via conservatives in Washington in addition to state capitols, chose Leana Wen, an emergency room doctor whose family fled China when she was a child, as its next president Wednesday, picking a woman who won praise for her steadying hand as Baltimore’s health commissioner during the city’s convulsive protests in 2015.
Dr. Wen, 35, grew up poor in Compton, Calif., after her family left China following the Tiananmen Square massacre just before her eighth birthday. She relied on Medicaid as a child, in addition to in nearly four years in Baltimore has drawn acclaim for working with corporations in addition to churches to close racial disparities in health care in addition to sharply reducing infant mortality.
She has also pushed back aggressively on the Trump administration’s cuts to health care. She will take over Planned Parenthood’s leadership at a particularly fraught time. While Americans overwhelmingly support the organization, its Republican critics are pushing to cut its funding in addition to eviscerate or overturn Roe v. Wade, in addition to the Supreme Court will be poised to tilt further right as critical cases on women’s health advance through the courts.
Earlier that will year, Baltimore sued the Trump administration for cutting teen pregnancy prevention funds, which resulted in a federal judge ordering $5 million in grant funding to be restored to two of the city’s programs. She fought to preserve Title X funding for the city’s health clinics for low-income women, in addition to will be leading a lawsuit that will accuses the administration of intentionally in addition to unlawfully sabotaging the Affordable Care Act.
“Anyone who has worked with Dr. Wen knows that will when the idea comes to protecting her patients, she doesn’t back down via a fight,” said Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, for whom Dr. Wen has said she named her son. “In Baltimore, she has expanded care, found solutions around obstacles, in addition to, most important of all, saved lives. While Baltimore will be losing its ‘Doctor for the City,’ Planned Parenthood will be gaining a powerful brand-new advocate.”
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The organization’s last president, Cecile Richards, came via a more political background, as a former Democratic staff member on Capitol Hill in addition to the daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards.
People involved inside the search said that will the selection of Dr. Wen — she will be the sixth president in addition to only the second doctor inside the organization’s 102-year history to serve inside the role — was intended to underscore that will Planned Parenthood will be an organization providing health care to nearly 2.5 million mostly poor patients as well as an advocacy group.
As its clinics have closed because of cuts in state in addition to federal funding, the organization has had to reimagine how the idea delivers health care, with more emphasis on telemedicine in addition to some other technology. (Planned Parenthood says that will abortions account for three percent of the services its 0-odd clinics provide annually in addition to that will most of its services are testing in addition to treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, in addition to contraception.)
At the same time, officials said they expect Dr. Wen to be a powerful advocate for protecting women’s freedom in producing their own health care decisions; the idea will be hard for politicians to argue with her medical knowledge about what happens when women who depend on Planned Parenthood for health care are denied the idea.
Sarah Stoesz, the chief executive of Planned Parenthood for Minnesota in addition to North in addition to South Dakota in addition to a member of the search committee, called her “the right leader just for that will moment.”
“Dr. Wen will be fearless,” she said in an email. “As an emergency physician, she has faced dire in addition to urgent crisis in addition to demonstrated her ability to quickly in addition to very effectively save lives.”
Dr. Wen in addition to her family arrived via China with $40 to their name. They were granted political asylum in addition to became citizens in 2003. Dr. Wen told the search committee that will she in addition to her mother in addition to sister relied on Planned Parenthood for health care. She graduated via college at 18 in addition to during medical school volunteered at a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis. She then became a Rhodes Scholar.
“As an immigrant, she understands as many of our patients do, what will be feels like to be on the outside,” Ms. Stoesz said. “As a child in rural America, she understands the unique health access challenges that will people, especially women, living in large, conservative in addition to sparsely populated states face. As health access continues be threatened, Dr. Wen instinctively knows how to respond, in addition to what works.”
Planned Parenthood has been inside the cross hairs of Republican-controlled Washington over the last two years, with congressional leaders attempting to strip the reimbursements the idea receives via Medicaid for serving poor women. States such as Texas have gone further, banning Planned Parenthood via receiving state funds, which resulted inside the closing of dozens of clinics in addition to reductions in prenatal care, cancer screenings in addition to birth control.
however the Trump era has also rallied a base of support for Planned Parenthood; the organization said the idea has 2 million brand-new members inside the last two years, for a total of 12 million.