As conservative states — emboldened by the recent appointment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — pass increasingly harsh anti-abortion legislation, Planned Parenthood’s new president is warning that women’s health in the U.S. has reached “a state of emergency.”
Following Planned Parenthood leader Cecile Richards’ departure after more than 12 years heading the women’s health services provider, new president Dr. Leana Wen, a veteran emergency room physician and former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore, promised to expand services and reach despite the best efforts of conservative politicians who have consistently passed laws designed to force the company out of existence. Wen, who moved to Los Angeles from Shanghai, China, with her parents at age 7 after the family fled the country after the Tiananmen Square massacre, said that growing up she and her family had relied on Medicaid and Planned Parenthood in order to afford medical care.
“I strongly believe that health care must be guaranteed to all regardless of our ability to pay,” said Wen. “Regardless of what we look like, where we come from, our immigrations status, the zip code we live in, and all people should be treated with compassion and high quality care — that’s what a society should guarantee … We are probably the only healthcare organization that has a presence in all 50 states.”
In particular, she noted, women’s health and reproductive care in the U.S. had seen shocking and unnecessary decline. And all too often, Wen said, she has seen people die or face permanently debilitating injury — not because they were beyond saving, but because they lacked insurance or access to safe abortions.
“There is no question we are in a state of emergency for women’s health,” said Wen. “[When a society] treats one type of healthcare differently than everyone else, that’s when we get to where we are, which is the biggest healthcare crisis of our time … There is huge unmet need across our country, and it is our moral imperative to provide care for all those who need us. I plan to expand our services, and expand our reach.” As she succinctly put it during an appearance on CBS This Morning, health care shouldn’t be political.
Watch her full interview on CBS This Morning below.
Read the full story at The Guardian.