Oh, the irony. Two months after the sudden departure of Dr. Leana Wen as president of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion mill has fought a two-front war on so-called “gag orders.” They have taken the Trump administration to court to fight one on themselves as Title X providers — and fought to impose one on Dr. Wen to keep her quiet about the tactics of Planned Parenthood.
The New York Times got its hands on a letter from Wen accusing Planned Parenthood of being “deeply hypocritical” when it comes to transparency, and issuing a sotto voce threat to sue over discrimination or retaliation:
In her recent letter, she left open the possibility of legal action. “I have no desire to file claims against Planned Parenthood for defamation, retaliation, or discrimination,” she wrote ominously.
She said that Planned Parenthood was demanding her silence “in exchange for my contractually-guaranteed severance and continued health insurance coverage,” calling the efforts “unjust” and “unethical.”
Dr. Wen went so far as to invoke the recent Trump administration rules to accuse Planned Parenthood’s board of hypocrisy.
“It is deeply hypocritical,” she wrote, 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.”
One has to go pretty far into the NYT article to catch this, but their lead is tasty enough. Wen accused PP of attempting to “buy her silence” in the letter, which might only be an issue if it was for sale in the first place, which Wen strenuously denies. “No amount of money can ever buy my integrity and my commitment to the patients I serve,” Wen wrote in the letter.
Planned Parenthood denies all of the above, but the fact that negotiations are still underway makes it clear that they want Wen to keep her mouth shut. It also looks like Wen wants something significant in exchange for quietly returning to “the patients that I serve.” Former execs don’t toss around allegations of “defamation, retaliation, or discrimination” in letters unless they want increased compensation to settle any potential claims along those lines.
Let’s face it: if Wen wants to speak out, she can do so at any time. It might cost her, especially if she signed a non-disclosure agreement, which is pretty common with executives in any organization. No one can “gag” her if Wen chooses to talk; the question is whether she’s willing to forgo the financial rewards of silence — and how much she can increase those by signaling that she wants to speak up.
And speaking of hypocrisy, Wen’s sudden shock, shock to find that Planned Parenthood stridently politicizes abortion ranks up there pretty high with PP’s sudden love of gag orders, too. Perhaps the board told Wen that they wanted to change direction, but that seems doubtful. With Donald Trump in office, their obvious choice was to exploit La Résistance® and double down.
At any rate, to put this fight into cinematic perspective, this looks like a brawl between Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago. Someone will get knocked out, but … it doesn’t really matter who.
Note: The NYT includes a very tragic note to all of this: Dr. Wen’s miscarriage this summer, which played a small role in the conflict. Regardless of her politics, we pray for healing and better days for her and her family.