Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen is ready to fight for women’s health care amid “repeated attacks from the Trump administration”

By Julie Mazziotta
December 18, 2018 12:08 PM
Advertisement

Dr. Leana Wen has only been at the helm of Planned Parenthood for a month, but she says the politically-driven attempts to try and take away access to their health care services are already a constant.

“We feel repeated attacks from the Trump administration against reproductive health and women’s health almost on a daily basis,” Wen, 35, tells PEOPLE. “We are very concerned about the Trump administration’s efforts to attack science, to attack medicine, to attack the fundamental right to health care.”

From politicians in Louisiana and Kansas attempting to stop patients on Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood, to the Trump administration finalizing a rule that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, it’s been a busy few months.

“I mean, it’s 2018, and we’re still arguing over whether women should have access to birth control,” Wen says. “There are multiple other efforts — I could go on and on. We at Planned Parenthood won’t stand for that.”

Dr. Leana Wen
Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post/Getty

But beyond the political fighting, Wen has far more on her agenda. For one of her first campaigns as president, the emergency room physician wanted to remind Americans that Planned Parenthood is more than just reproductive care with “This Is Health Care.”

“We at Planned Parenthood are proud to provide health care and standard medical care to our patients; to the nearly 2.4 million patients that we serve every year,” she says. “And we’re proud to provide the full range of reproductive health care, from birth control to abortions. We’re proud to provide breast and cervical screenings, we’re proud to provide care to our LGBTQ patients, to all patients.”

RELATED VIDEO: Planned Parenthood Confirms It Has Received 50,000 Donations in Mike Pence’s Name Since the Election

“Reproductive health care is health care,” she continues. “Women’s health care is health care. And health care is a basic human right.”

The vast resources available at Planned Parenthood is something that Wen was aware of long before she led the non-profit.

“When we first immigrated to this country, Planned Parenthood was where my mother came for health care when she couldn’t get it anywhere else,” she says. “I was a patient of Planned Parenthood. I went for education and information about birth control, because I knew that I could get judgement-free education and options, and when I didn’t have health insurance, when my sister didn’t have health insurance, we went to Planned Parenthood for our care just like one in five women in America.”

Now, as president, Wen says she will fight for the people who, like her family years ago, rely on Planned Parenthood for “lifesaving” medical care.

“Around the country there are so many attacks that prevent people from seeking care at Planned Parenthood when, for so many patients, it’s their only source of health care,” she says. “Because of our supporters, and the will of the American people, our doors are open today, and they’ll be open tomorrow, and they’ll be open for the next 100 years.”