According to an interview published Wednesday in The Daily Beast, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen believes abortion is not only Planned Parenthood’s “core mission,” but also “the fight of our time.”
“This is the fight of our time,” Wen told the online publication. “This is the time to fight with everything we have, because women’s lives are at stake, and we have to emphasize that reproductive health care is a fundamental human right.”
The interview comes on the heels of an earlier clarification by Wen that Planned Parenthood’s “core mission” is, in fact, abortion. Wen clarified her position in a series of tweets on Tuesday, responding to Buzzfeed’s apparently misleading headline that described her focus for the abortion giant as “nonabortion healthcare.”
In one of those tweets, Wen stated that Planned Parenthood’s “core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight - it’s a fundamental human right and women’s lives are at stake.”
Buzzfeed’s headline was certainly understandable, however--Wen reportedly rarely used the word “abortion” in initial media interviews after accepting her position with Planned Parenthood back in November. Wen has also claimed in the past that Planned Parenthood’s focus is on healthcare, not politics.
Wen had told Buzzfeed’s Ema O’Connor, after all, that “People aren’t coming to Planned Parenthood to make a political statement. They’re coming because they need their vaccinations. They need their well woman exams. They’re getting HIV tests.”
But now Wen appears to be backtracking, and doubling down on making sure that people know what Planned Parenthood is really all about: providing, and fighting for the right to provide, abortions. The doctor couldn’t have made it any clearer in her Wednesday interview with The Daily Beast.
“I know this as a physician, that it's not enough for us to provide health care if people literally cannot get access to that care,” Wen said. “So serving patients, which is our North Star, must also go hand in hand with fighting restrictions and making sure that we have champions who will protect women's rights and reproductive rights around the country.”
Lest anyone think that focus might change, Wen decisively put that to rest.
“Our work will always center on sexual and reproductive healthcare—that's what we do,” she went on to add.
And if there were any remaining doubt as to Wen’s ambitions regarding the promotion and politics of abortion, The Daily Beast reports that she used the word “expand” no fewer than 16 times during the 30-minute interview.
“That’s what I’ve done throughout my career, these two dual elements: On the one side providing health care, and serving patients directly, and on the other hand, fighting to protect access to that care,” she said.
“Because without that fight, then we’re not safeguarding the fundamental right to healthcare—including safe, legal abortions.”