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Ousted Planned Parenthood CEO Dr. Leana Wen Cites ‘Philosophical Differences’

“I believe the best way to protect abortion care is to be clear that it is not a political issue, but a healthcare one,” she says

President of Planned Parenthood Dr. Leana Wen speaks to demonstrators outside of the Supreme Court.Abortion rights rally, Washington DC, USA - 21 May 2019The protestors joined several democratic lawmakers to show their opposition to the recent abortion ban implemented by several states.

Planned Parenthood's CEO and President Dr. Leana Wen was ousted from her position on Tuesday.

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Dr. Leana Wen, who has served as the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood since November, was removed from her position on Tuesday. In a post on Twitter, Dr. Wen claims she was ousted during a “secret meeting” while she and the Board were in negotiations about her departure.

In a statement following her post about her removal, Dr. Wen cited that she and the new Planned Parenthood Board Chairs were in disagreement about the organization’s future steps when it comes to advocating for abortion rights.

“I believe that the best way to protect abortion care is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one, and that we can expand support for reproductive rights by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who understand reproductive health care as the fundamental health care that it is,” Dr. Wen said in her statement. “I am leaving because the new Board Chairs and I have philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.”

In a statement from Planned Parenthood, the organization did not address any contention between the parties and announced its new Acting President.

“We thank Dr. Leana Wen for her service to Planned Parenthood in such a pivotal time and extend our best wishes for her continued success,” the statement reads. “We are pleased to announce that Alexis Gill Johnson has been named Acting President, effective immediately. Alexis is a renowned social justice leader, lifelong political organizer and a tireless advocate for healthcare.” Johnson has served on Planned Parenthood’s board for nearly a decade and served as a Board Chair from 2013 to 2015.

Dr. Wen’s brief tenure and the apparently acrimonious split comes at a tumultuous time for the organization and coincides with the Trump administration’s new abortion regulations, which officially began enforcing a ban on abortion referrals from taxpayer-funded family planning clinics on Tuesday, as Associated Press reports. Several Republican-controlled states, Alabama and Missouri among them, have recently undertaken legislative efforts to restrict abortion access.

“I am proud to step in to serve as Acting President and facilitate a smooth leadership transition in this critical moment for Planned Parenthood and the patients and communities we serve,” incoming Acting President Johnson said in a statement. “I thank Dr. Wen for her service and her commitment to patients. I look forward to getting to work alongside the incredible team at Planned Parenthood who work every single day to help people access high quality reproductive health care.”

In Planned Parenthood’s statement, the organization said it would be searching for a new president and CEO beginning early next year.

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