Planned Parenthood & Its New CEO Just Abruptly Parted Ways

There was an abrupt leadership shakeup at Planned Parenthood on Tuesday. In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Planned Parenthood said President Leana Wen would step down. But at the same time, Wen tweeted that the Planned Parenthood board "ended my employment at a secret meeting."

PPFA board Chair Aimee Cunningham and PPAF Board Chair Jennie Rosenthal wrote in a joint statement, “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." A tweet from Wen, released at roughly the same time as the organization’s statement, read:

Wen, who was the organization’s president for less than a year, quickly followed that up with another tweet that included an extended statement on her departure, which read in part, "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." She continued, "I am leaving because the new Board Chairs and I have philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood." Bustle has reached out to Planned Parenthood for additional comment about Wen’s statement.

Wen does not go on to say what those philosophical differences are, but writes that it was an "honor and privilege" to serve alongside the dedicated people who are "on the frontlines of health care in our country."

People familiar with the move told The New York Times that the group wants a more "aggressive political leader to fight the efforts to roll back access to abortions." The Washington Post reported that the change comes at a particularly tough moment for the group. Not only is the organization taking on some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws, it’s also facing funding cuts thanks to the Trump administration’s gag rule, which bars federal funds from going to clinics that provide referrals for abortions.

Wen, as she noted in her tweet, was committed to protecting abortion as health care, and she reportedly wanted to portray it as one of the many services Planned Parenthood offers at its clinics. But, according to the Post, some board members wanted the organization to remain unabashed in its commitment to abortion rights specifically.

It’s unclear what direction the organization will ultimately take. In their joint statement, Cunningham and Rosenthal also announced the new acting president as Alexis McGill Johnson:

More to come…

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