The Corner

Culture

Planned Parenthood’s New President Appears on CBS and Doesn’t Mention Abortion Once

Planned Parenthood’s Leana Wen on CBS This Morning (YouTube)

It’s her first official day on the job as the incoming president of Planned Parenthood, and the way Leana Wen spent her morning is a clue that she intends to continue the public-relations campaign convincing Americans that her group has nothing to do with abortion.

Bright and early, Wen appeared on CBS This Morning, greeted by a panel of interviewers who were all but interrupting one another in their haste to toss softball questions her way.

The segment began as one might expect, with CBS laying out statistics uncritically claiming that Planned Parenthood provides irreplaceable health care for millions of American women every year. Totally unmentioned, of course, was the fact that Planned Parenthood is also far and away the nation’s largest abortion provider, performing 321,384 abortions last fiscal year alone, according to the group’s own annual report. That’s more than one-third of the annual abortions performed every year in the U.S.

Here’s a sample of the questions Wen received during the segment: “You’re the first doctor to lead this organization in more than a century. What do you plan to bring to the organization from your background?” “Why did your family use Planned Parenthood?” “It has now become such a politicized and such a controversial job. Did you have any trepidation about taking it?” “Were you encouraged after the elections?”

Unsurprisingly, Wen had little trouble dispensing with these queries, and they offered her a nice platform on which to present fluffy PR sound bites. Though she was asked explicitly about abortion-related state-level amendments and about the possibility of a Supreme Court case overturning Roe v. Wade, Wen did not say the word “abortion” a single time during the entire interview. Instead, she relied on the favored euphemisms of the pro-choice movement: reproductive rights, access to health care, and that standard Planned Parenthood slogan, “Women’s health care is health care.”

CBS made sure to display a picture of Wen with her own young child, as the new Planned Parenthood president said, “Being a parent has clarified my values, and what I want to do is shape the future for my son, Eli. It’s a future where all people are treated the same, that all people have a right to health care, and it’s a society where we trust women.” The natural follow-up question “Trust women to do what?” was left unasked.

The most interesting exchange occurred when one of the talking heads asked Wen for her thoughts on last week’s elections.

“Less than 24 hours after the elections, we saw the Trump administration come out with new rules that would prevent employers, or, actually that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage,” she replied. She was referring, of course, to the Health and Human Services Department’s Obamacare mandate, which required all employers, regardless of religious beliefs, to subsidize employees’ contraception and abortifacients.

Not one minute later, however, Wen answered another question with the following bromide: “I respect each person’s beliefs for themselves. My problem is if they want to impose their own beliefs on other people.” Apparently Wen’s distaste for imposing beliefs on others does not extend to the federal government’s efforts to compel Catholic nuns to subsidize abortion-inducing drugs.

This interview was everything Planned Parenthood’s public-relations team could hope for. In fact, it’s tough to imagine how a Planned Parenthood marketing video would’ve differed at all from this segment. Not only was Wen permitted to portray herself as a compassionate mother and physician, who only involves herself in politics when it’s necessary to protect “women’s rights,” but she also got away with avoiding abortion entirely.

It’s the perfect encapsulation of why Planned Parenthood’s marketing has been so successful and why so many Americans are blissfully unaware that the group performs hundreds of thousands of abortions every year, all while passing itself off as indispensable health care. In reality, Planned Parenthood does very little outside the realm of sexual health. Aside from abortion, its most common offerings are STD tests and birth control.

Consider how those 321,384 abortion procedures dwarfed adoption referrals (3,889) and prenatal services (7,762) last year. That means Planned Parenthood performed 83 abortions for every one adoption referral, and its prenatal services have dropped every year since 2009, from over 40,000 that year to just under 8,000.

Last year, its facilities provided only 235,000 well-woman exams and 32,000 “family practice services,” and the group shuttered dozens of its clinics. Its locations are outnumbered 20 to one nationwide by federally qualified health-care centers that provide a host of health-care services without providing abortion.

Despite Wen’s multiple claims that Planned Parenthood is about health care, not politics, the group’s political-action arm donates millions of dollars to left-wing, pro-choice politicians. During this year’s midterms alone, the group spent more than $30 million to mobilize voters for Democratic candidates.

Wen’s interview this morning shows that Planned Parenthood intends to carry on deceiving the public, this time aided by a president who is both an immigrant and a doctor, better enabling her to pretend that her group focuses on everything under the sun but abortion. As long as media outlets such as CBS remain willing and eager to run cover, Planned Parenthood will continue to get away with it.

Most Popular

White House

Another Warning Sign

The Mueller report is of course about Russian interference in the 2016 election and about the White House's interference in the resulting investigation. But I couldn’t help also reading the report as a window into the manner of administration that characterizes the Trump era, and therefore as another warning ... Read More
World

What’s So Great about Western Civilization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Redacted: Harm to Ongoing Matter), One of the things I tell new parents is something that was told to me when my daughter still had that ... Read More
Film & TV

Jesus Is Not the Joker

Actors love to think they can play anything, but the job of any half-decent filmmaker is to tell them when they’re not right for a part. If the Rock wants to play Kurt Cobain, try to talk him out of it. Adam Sandler as King Lear is not a great match. And then there’s Joaquin Phoenix. He’s playing Jesus ... Read More
White House

The Mueller Report Should Shock Our Conscience

I've finished reading the entire Mueller report, and I must confess that even as a longtime, quite open critic of Donald Trump, I was surprised at the sheer scope, scale, and brazenness of the lies, falsehoods, and misdirections detailed by the Special Counsel's Office. We've become accustomed to Trump making up ... Read More
U.S.

Supreme Court Mulls Citizenship Question for Census

Washington -- The oral arguments the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday will be more decorous than the gusts of judicial testiness that blew the case up to the nation’s highest tribunal. The case, which raises arcane questions of administrative law but could have widely radiating political and policy ... Read More