The Corner

Politics & Policy

No One Is Ever Woke Enough

Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen speaks at a protest at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2019. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

Indeed, Madeleine, and what’s particularly striking is that the issue of “trans-inclusive” language is the only one that seems like the kind of issue that could have forced Leana Wen’s departure.

It’s pretty rare to see an organization dump its president after just eight months, as Planned Parenthood just did with Wen. Most New York Yankee managers lasted longer under the notoriously fickle and impatient George Steinbrenner.

It’s not like Wen has run Planned Parenthood into the ground or mismanaged it to irrelevancy.

On the policy front, Planned Parenthood’s past eight months have been mixed.  “Fetal heartbeat laws” passed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky. Meanwhile Illinois repealed late-pregnancy restrictions and a ban on partial-birth abortion, and expanded insurance coverage for abortion and contraception. Vermont declared abortion a “fundamental right.” New York lawmakers removed anything in state law that could have been interpreted to limit abortion or to extend any protection to a child before birth. Maine passed a law allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants, not just doctors, to perform abortions, and required insurance companies to cover the procedure.

This is not a difficult pattern to discern: Republican-dominated states are moving laws in a more pro-life direction, Democrat-dominated states are moving laws in a more pro-choice direction. It’s hard to blame or credit Wen for that.

The complaints about Wen in that recent BuzzFeed article were mundane, with one glaring exception. Fundraising was down, but that shouldn’t be surprising when an organization changes from Cecile Richards – the longtime political activist, former deputy chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi, daughter of former Texas governor Ann Richards, who had run Planned Parenthood for twelve years – to a much less well-known medical doctor. Anonymous sources complained to BuzzFeed that Wen and her new hires had a lot of friction with the old staff, but that’s pretty common when leadership changes in any organization.

But then there’s this: “Two sources told BuzzFeed News that Wen also 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.’”

Was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Wen: her refusal to use “trans-inclusive language”? If so, that would be a remarkable illustration of how powerful the forces of political correctness and wokeness have become. If enough people in leadership of an organization either subscribe to the philosophy or fear standing against it, then no one is progressive enough to earn an exception or indulgence under the New Woke Order. No one’s deviation from the linguistic requirements can be ignored, overlooked, accepted, or forgiven. Not even the president of Planned Parenthood!

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