Planned Parenthood aborts new president after eight months

Can’t call them hypocrites. PP has always strongly supported the right to terminate in the third trimester.

It’s their choice.

I was going to finish off here with something about how a nonprofit should have absolute control of its own (governing) body, but no, no. Enough. Let’s move on already.

Planned Parenthood on Tuesday removed its president after less than a year in the job, seeking new leadership at a time when abortion rights have come under increasing attack from statehouses and Republicans in Washington…

Dr. [Leana] Wen had been the first physician to lead the organization in decades. The people familiar with the move said there had been internal strife over her management, and that the group felt it needed a more aggressive political leader to fight the efforts to roll back access to abortions

Dr. Wen, a 36-year-old former health commissioner in Baltimore, was among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people earlier this year. But inside Planned Parenthood, there had been significant turnover at the top of the organization since her arrival.

That’s one of two rationales for her departure floating around this afternoon. Wen was a “peacetime” leader, shall we say; between the push to pass “heartbeat bills” in some red states and the new administration rule barring federally funded family planning clinics from providing abortion referrals, PP decided belatedly that it needed a wartime consigliere. Wen was specifically hired, in fact, because she’s a doctor and wanted to steer the organization’s image away from one of a political war machine and towards more of a true health-care organization. But some PP execs grew anxious about that over time, especially with SCOTUS turning more conservative. The question of whether PP is first and foremost a health-care outfit or a fetal disassembly plant was at the heart of today’s decision to can Wen — according to Wen herself:

Her letter got more pointed as it went on:

“The new Board leadership has determined that the priority of Planned Parenthood moving forward is to double down on abortion rights advocacy.” PP has forever answered pro-life critics by insisting that its core mission is women’s health care writ large, with abortion just a tiny facet of the business. Again, this is why a doctor was chosen as Cecile Richards’s successor, to underscore that comprehensive medical mission. Now here’s Richards’s successor herself telling us that she’s out because PP is indeed a chop shop at heart. Clarifying.

The other rationale for her removal has less to do with the group’s mission and more to do with Wen herself. This juicy BuzzFeed piece about her removal cites numerous sources insisting that Wen was something of a disaster as manager, demonstrating “a complete lack of leadership capability at a time when this organization requires an extraordinary leader.” Allegedly she was warned about her “behavior” six months ago but kept right on doing her thing. What thing? Well:

During the beginning of Wen’s tenure at Planned Parenthood, the staff she brought with her distributed a 182-page handbook on rules and tips for staffing Wen. The “Special Assistant Guide” from the Baltimore City Health Department, according to a copy obtained by BuzzFeed News, details guidelines on timeliness (“Nothing can fall through the cracks”), office demeanor (“Make sure to frequently look up [from Twitter] and make eye contact with Dr. Wen to see if she is trying to communicate urgent information”), language use (“Dr. Wen ‘learns’ not ‘hears’”) and correspondence (“Try not to look at emails more than once. Take care of it then”).

“The handbook was honestly just the beginning of her management issues,” the source familiar with the situation told BuzzFeed News. “Sh*t has been crazy, there was a whole system of insanity: A deep mistrust of staff, giving directives that made no sense, saying one thing then saying something else completely, micromanaging control over what people were allowed to say and not say.”

Trusted longtime PP staffers began leaving. Wen brought in her own staff and reportedly began having secret meetings involving them but not others. And then there was — gasp — this:

She’s mad, I tell you. Mad. The interim president should have no trouble in that respect, at least: Alexis McGill Johnson is a co-founder of the Perception Institute, “a consortium of researchers, advocates, and strategists that uses cutting-edge mind science to help organizations reduce discrimination linked to race, gender, and other identity differences.” No more heresies against transgenderism while PP gears up for political war with Trump and the right next year.