Meet New Planned Parenthood President: Leana Wen, MD, PHD, BAD-ASS.
This past January, Cecile Richards announced she would be stepping down from her long tenure as president of Planned Parenthood. This week, Planned Parenthood announced her replacement would be former Baltimore health commissioner Dr. Leana Wen -- the first doctor to hold the position in about 50 years.
And she is kind of a badass.
In a video released by Planned Parenthood yesterday, Dr. Wen talks about how she emigrated to the States from China as a child, and how her parents -- who came over here with only $40 to their name -- relied on things like food stamps, Medicaid and help from Planned Parenthood in order to survive and build a life for themselves and their daughter.
The former ER physician also talks about being unable to save a woman who came to her after attempting an abortion at home:
In the ER I saw what happens every day when people don't have access to the basic right to health care. "I remember seeing a young woman lying on a stretcher, pulseless and unresponsive, because of a home abortion, because she was too scared to seek medical care. I did everything I could to resuscitate her, but she died.
So she knows exactly what we stand to lose with Roe.
Also, she was basically Lady Doogie Howser, so she's kind of a genius:
As a child, she dreamed of becoming a doctor. She entered college at the age of 13 and majored in biochemistry. After medical school, however, she was confronted by a sad reality. In the emergency room you can resuscitate victims of gun violence and overdose, she found, but you can't prevent them from returning over and over again.
If she had dedicated her life simply to medicine, that would have been impressive enough. (I am still trying to remember if I even knew what "biochemistry" was when I was 13, and I am pretty sure the answer is no.) But, in addition to that, she's also worked as an activist, and after being made the health commissioner for the city of Baltimore at age 32, one of her very first projects was making sure people still had access to health care and their medications during the riots following the funeral of Freddie Grey.
Is she a superhero? Kind of too also! She is at least pretty close to one -- which is what we are going to need, especially if freaking Brett Kavanaugh gets his butt on the Supreme Court. We're pretty damned lucky here -- Planned Parenthood could not have made a better choice.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse