In this Asia for Life Podcast episode, I don’t actually talk with Dr. Leana Wen. But I do examine her ideas, because they’re worth taking seriously.
This is a review of the New York Times editorial that Dr. Wen wrote about her firing from Planned Parenthood, and also of some info from Planned Parenthood’s email list.
Dr. Wen tried to strengthen the reputation of the Planned Parenthood, by offering more comprehensive healthcare services. But PPFA is America’s largest abortion company, and they ultimately refused to let her change their business model.
In 2016, PPFA doubled its political giving to $30 million, to try to get Hillary Clinton into the White House. It’s possible they’ll double their political giving again in 2020. (So they’re probably very disappointed that they’ve just lost $60 million of U.S. government funding!)
But even though PPFA’s reputation is getting worse, they will continue to focus more on abortion, and less on comprehensive health care. And so they will continue to become a redundant (and hopefully obsolete) organization.
Moving forward, pro-life people should keep an eye on Dr. Leana Wen. She’s not radical in the way Planned Parenthood told her to be, but she is still radically pro-choice. And she still has a powerful voice in the medical field, and may try to steer public discourse about abortion and other life-and-death issues in the future.
People in a position like Dr. Wen are especially influential, because American laws, medical standards, rhetoric, and attitudes all have an outsized impact on global trends. For better or worse, America’s treatment of abortion will influence the rest of the world.
So, as always, the pro-life movement should be ready to engage with people like Dr. Wen, in a spirit of clarity and honesty. And we should be willing to pray, too—in a spirit of faith, hope, and love.
I forgot to mention…
There are several misleading statements in Dr. Wen’s article, but one of the obvious ones is the common belief that there were many women dying every year before abortion was legal.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson was America’s most prominent abortion doctor in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and he explained how this belief became popular.
“How many deaths were we talking about when abortion was illegal? In NARAL (National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws) we generally emphasized the drama of the individual case, not the mass statistics, but when we spoke of the latter it was always 5,000 to 10,000 a year. I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, But in the “morality” of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?” (Bernard Nathanson, Richard Ostling. Aborting America. Pinnacle Books. New York 1979.)