Ladies, I love following one Ms. Dr. Leana Wen, the former Planned Parenthood president and on-again, off-again CNN commentator. Dr. Wen was Baltimore’s health commissioner when she was recruited to lead Planned Parenthood. Wen was Planned Parenthood’s first physician to head the reproductive health group in half a century. She believed in looking at abortion as a healthcare issue – instead of a political one. Wen’s career was skyrocketing – so much so she graced the cover of Time magazine. But, Wen didn’t last a year before she was ousted from the organization in 2019 because she wasn’t considered political enough.
Fast-forward to 2022, and Wen is being proven right: abortion is first and foremost a health-care issue. We American women know this firsthand, as we bleed out on the operating table from a miscarriage, waiting for the doctor to call their lawyer before performing a D&C, which is a fancy term for abortion. A lot of liberal media outlets focus on the overturning of Roe v. Wade as hurting primarily Black and brown women, which allows a lot of people to check out of the conversation. The fact is making abortion illegal impacts everyone’s life and health – albeit in different ways, because the drugs and procedures used to evacuate a uterus for an induced abortion are also used in many other ways including saving the lives of women and babies. And, yes, we Black women will bear the brunt of this. When more people understand how making abortion illegal negatively impacts their own life, the tide will turn.
Called a public-health pragmatist and visionary leader, Wen has pressed on in her career and is now taking a controversial, but honest stance on COVID.
Recently, Leana Wen wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post about why her kids won’t be wearing masks this year in school, explaining how her view has evolved in light of vaccines, different COVID variants and new treatments. Conservative media, and some public health activists, went ballistic. In a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial called “The Cancellation of Leana Wen,” the editorial board fiercely criticized Wen for changing her mind on masks and advancing personal responsibility instead, saying the pandemic should have been about personal responsibility from the beginning. Sounds like Wen’s critics want to play politics over people’s lives and health – which is something Wen will never champion – no matter how much controversy she faces.