July 18, 2019
The news wasn’t just a shock to the country, it was a shock to Wen herself. “I just learned that the @PPFA Board ended my employment at a secret meeting,” she tweeted. “We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.” That “good faith” ended abruptly when the president of America’s abortion giant found out she was fired.
One of those philosophical differences, sources say, is that Wen happens to believe women’s health care is for, well, women. “Two sources told BuzzFeed News that Wen refused to use ‘trans-inclusive’ language -- for example saying ‘people’ instead of ‘women’ and telling staff that she believed talking about transgender issues would ‘isolate people in the Midwest.’” Not to mention that as a physician, Wen knows better than anyone: men can’t get pregnant.
Another sore spot between Wen and the board may have been her reluctance to make abortion hyper-political. “I believe that the best way to protect abortion care is to be clear that it is not a political issue -- but a health care one, and that we can expand support for reproductive rights by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who understand reproductive health care as the fundamental health care that it is,” she said. Obviously, her idea didn’t play well in a group that dumped more than $30 million into 2016 campaigns like Hillary Clinton’s.
Now, with President Trump causing major upheaval of his own with the new Title X rules, the Planned Parenthood board has decided that it wants a pit bull – not a doctor – to wage its war on women (or, to be more “inclusive,” war on people). While it looks for a new leader – something the group is putting off until after the 2020 elections – it has plenty of other headaches to contend with, including the president’s family planning laws. Thanks to the Ninth Circuit Court, several of the group’s local facilities are about to feel a major squeeze on their bank accounts. As of Monday, HHS started enforcing the new ban on abortion referrals from offices that get family planning funds – a decision that could cost Wen’s former group as much as $60 million dollars.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) celebrated the decision on Wednesday’s “Washington Watch.” “Think about it -- how often do we get to talk about a victory in the Ninth Circuit of all places? Fortunately, many times now we’ve talked about victories at the Supreme Court level – and in no small part [that’s due to] two great new members that Donald Trump has put [there]. But even in the Ninth Circuit, that tells you how… well put together the president’s rule was.”
Already, the protests are streaming in from states who’ve gotten used to the lucrative checks. Faced with separating abortion from “family planning,” Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide have abandoned the program altogether. “We are not going to comply…” group lobbyist Jacqueline Ayers protested. In Illinois, the local network walked away from the family planning money – more content to stick with Planned Parenthood’s cash cow -- abortion. Maine, Vermont, and New York City are either leaning that way or have made it official. For Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), the price of his abortion allegiance is steep. By dropping out of the Title X program, they’re losing $1.3 million in taxpayer funds.
Is the Left imploding? Faced with unprecedented political and cultural resistance, groups like Planned Parenthood look vulnerable for the first time in a long time. Liberals in likeminded groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) are being exposed to a level of scrutiny and opposition that’s unparalleled for them. And it’s testing their mettle and applying stress in a way that’s quite unflattering.
Earlier this year, SPLC -- which has long had free reign in the government, media, and our schools -- experienced almost cataclysmic setbacks. They, like Planned Parenthood, had been emboldened by the Obama years. Now, their media-inflated image has overreached, put the public’s tolerance to a test – and lost. SPLC’s hypocrisy was exposed after the ouster of its racist and sexist founder, Morris Dees, and president Richard Cohen. Now, faced with an administration that’s committed -- not just to pro-life rhetoric, but establishing of a pro-life record –Planned Parenthood has been put back on its heels. How long can it survive? In this growing pro-life wave, no one is quite sure.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.