- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen has affirmed the organization’s commitment to providing abortions after she claimed the news media misconstrued her earlier statements about expanding non-abortion services.

Ms. Wen clarified Tuesday that Planned Parenthood’s “core mission” is to provide, protect and expand access to abortion. “We will never back down from that fight — it’s a fundamental human right and women’s lives are at stake,” she tweeted.

Ms. Wen linked to a headline by BuzzFeed News, which she slammed as misleading.

“I am always happy to do interviews, but these headlines completely misconstrue my vision for Planned Parenthood,” the physician wrote.

The article, titled, “Planned Parenthood’s New President Wants To Focus On Nonabortion Health Care,” reported that Ms. Wen was kicking off a five-month listening tour of Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country in order to learn “how best to add or expand nonabortion services that are not normally associated with Planned Parenthood, like treatment for opioid addiction, diabetes management, and mental health counseling.”

Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran Democratic campaign consultant, told BuzzFeed that the focus on non-abortion services signaled political “fatigue.”

“If you publicly project that you’re no longer an advocate but a provider of medical services, the presumption is the bad guys will no longer beat you up because you’re no longer poking a stick in their eyes all the time,” Ms. Sheinkopf said.

Ms. Wen pushed back on the report, declaring Tuesday that abortion is Planned Parenthood’s No. 1 priority.

“There have been more than 400 abortion restrictions included in the states since 2011. Serving our patients MUST include fighting those restrictions in legislatures and at the ballot box,” she tweeted. “Our advocacy work is crucial to delivering on our mission. The 2018 midterms, including the record number of women and the historic pro-reproductive health majority elected to House, prove that Planned Parenthood continues to be a powerful political force across the country.

“For many of our patients, we are their primary source of health care. That’s why we will continue to look for ways of expanding what we offer them, so we can treat the whole patient,” she added. “Tomorrow I kick off a tour of 20 [affiliates] in five months where I plan to highlight the ways Planned Parenthood is already doing this in communities across the country, and look for ways we can expand even further. That’s exciting. And it in no way means we are backing down from fighting for abortion access or from the important political work our advocacy organizations do.”


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