Today, we celebrate our oldest daughter’s birthday. Privately, we’ll toast to her beautiful life, but publicly, I feel compelled to highlight another anti-birth story, since it’s such big news these days.
This one started in July when Planned Parenthood fired its CEO, Dr. Leana Wen, after only eight months on the job, in what Wen called on Twitter “a secret meeting.”
The Daily Beast reported on some inner turmoil related to Wen’s stint, including that the board had been dissatisfied with her leadership style, noting her distrust of staff, inaccurate statements to the press, and hesitancy to use the word “abortion,” calling her management “devastating.” But Wen cited her focus on health care rather than abortion advocacy as the main problematic issue.
Sadly, just weeks before the announcement, Wen miscarried her second child; she was grieving at the time of her firing. Planned Parenthood knew this but apparently didn’t care.
The timing seems even more disastrous for her former employer, however. As more become aware of Planned Parenthood’s true aims, and bills are introduced to restrict or eliminate abortion, morale must be tanking.
Personally, I’m relieved for Wen. I’d wondered how a mother who cherishes that role could bear up Planned Parenthood’s mission long term. Motherhood tends to make us more, not less, pro-life.
And as a medical student who spent years learning to save lives, likely working toward the common goal to “first do no harm,” Wen would’ve faced the dangerous disconnect eventually.
As a USA Today columnist said: “Board members wanted to use Wen’s credentials and obvious passion for women’s health care to prop up the sagging myth that Planned Parenthood is more than just the most well-oiled lobbying machine in the world. No doubt Wen figured it out and refused to play along.”
Wen’s story partially mirrors that of Ramona Trevino, another former Planned Parenthood employee who ultimately saw how the corporation fails to protect its clients, including young people, those with STDs, and sexual-abuse victims, as shared in her memoir, “Redeemed by Grace: A Catholic Woman’s Journey to Planned Parenthood and Back,” an account I helped write.
I can only imagine Wen’s dismay as she also confronted the organization’s relentless drive to glorify abortion, even at the expense of its clients’ real needs. More recently, Wen even asserted the corporation has threatened her into silence.
I’ve been praying for Wen’s healing and courage, and that by revealing the callous treatment she endured by Planned Parenthood, other abortion workers might be empowered to leave, too. As the organization’s bottom line comes into full view, so does the pro-life community’s: that killing children will not bring freedom, only prisoners of regret, and more mothers – and fathers – of dead children.
I end with good news. Wen recently announced she is expecting again. Someday, God willing, she will be celebrating the 22-year birthday of her child as we are today. Thank the Lord for his abundant blessings and the hope they offer! Life is always good.
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on Oct. 7, 2019.]