Sep 15, 2019

Planned Parenthood accused by former president of gag order attempt

Leana Wen. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images

Leana Wen, who was ousted as Planned Parenthood president in July, claimed in a scathing letter to the group's board of directors that its leadership was trying to "buy my silence," the New York Times reports. Planned Parenthood denies the claims.

Why it matters: Per the Times, which obtained the letter, the escalating dispute "threatens to prolong and magnify an acrimonious transition" at the top of the best-known women’s health care and reproductive rights group in the U.S. at a time when Planned Parenthood is increasingly under external political duress.

The allegations: Wen, who had been in the role for less than a year, said in the 1,400-word letter that Planned Parenthood withheld her health insurance and departure payout as "ransom" to pressure her to sign a confidentiality agreement, per the Times.

  • She claims that it's deeply hypocritical that Planned Parenthood, "would attempt to enforce a gag order on its immediate past President/CEO while fighting the Trump administration’s gag rule on Title X providers," according to the NYT.

What they're saying: Melanie Newman, a senior vice president for communications at Planned Parenthood, told the Times, "Dr. Wen’s recent allegations are unfortunate, saddening, and simply untrue."

"The attorneys representing the board have made every good faith effort to amicably part from Dr. Wen, and are disappointed that they have been unable to reach a suitable resolution regarding her exit package."
  • Wen expressed her disappointment at the Times' report of the letter in a Twitter post, as she doubled down on her gag order claim.

The big picture: Planned Parenthood left the federal family planning program known as Title X to avoid complying with the Trump administration's "gag rule," which bars groups that offer abortions or abortion referrals from receiving federal funding.

  • In August, Planned Parenthood clinics in the Northwest and Midwest were struggling to stay afloat financially after withdrawing from the program.

Go deeper

Planned Parenthood and former president settle severance dispute

Leana Wen. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP/Getty Images

Planned Parenthood confirmed Monday that it's finally reached an agreement with Leana Wen, who was voted out as its president in July, over the terms of her departure from the women’s health care and reproductive rights group.

Why it matters: The agreement ends weeks of acrimonious negotiations over Wen's severance package, which came to the fore in a New York Times report over the weekend.

Go deeperArrowSep 17, 2019

Planned Parenthood plans massive spending campaign for 2020

A Portland Planned Parenthood in 2015. Photo: Whitney Hayward/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Planned Parenthood and its super PAC announced on Wednesday a plan to spend at least $45 million to support Democratic and pro-abortion rights candidates in 2020 state and federal elections, NPR reports.

Why it matters: The organization says that this is its largest electoral effort ever. While Planned Parenthood's 2020 spending is focused on elections and unseating President Trump, the Supreme Court just agreed to hear a case involving one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, marking the first time the high court will hear an abortion case with a solidified conservative majority.

Go deeperArrowOct 9, 2019

In the Supreme Court, it's all been building to this

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh on Feb. 5. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

This fall will present the first real test of whether a Supreme Court with two Trump appointees will deliver the change Republicans dreamed of when they stonewalled the nomination of Merrick Garland.

What's new: The Supreme Court agreed to take up a case on Louisiana's abortion law which requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in order to perform an abortion.

Go deeperArrowOct 4, 2019