“The new Board leadership has determined that the priority of Planned Parenthood moving forward is to double down on abortion rights advocacy,” Wen said.
Planned Parenthood announced on Tuesday that former board member Alexis McGill Johnson has been named acting president, adding that the organization hopes to appoint a new president by the end of 2019.
Wen was appointed head of Planned Parenthood in September 2018, following the 12-year presidency of Cecile Richards.
Wen moved to the United States from China at age eight. Before taking on her role with Planned Parenthood, she worked as an emergency room doctor and as the health commissioner of Baltimore. She was the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood in five decades.
Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the United States. In 2016, the organization performed about one out of every three abortions.
In the past decade, Planned Parenthood has seen its number of patients decline. The number of cancer screenings, contraceptives distributed, and prenatal services provided by the organization decreased as well.
Abortions, however, have increased by about 10 percent since 2006, despite Planned Parenthood seeing fewer patients.
The debate about Planned Parenthood’s public image as a health care provider or abortion advocacy group comes as cuts in funding and abortion restrictions in dozens of states across the country have put the organization on the defensive.
The appointments of Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have brought the issue of abortion into the spotlight, amid speculation that the court could overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that mandated legal abortion nationwide.
In addition, a new rule under the Trump administration prevents Title X fund recipients from performing or referring for abortions, and bars abortion clinics from sharing facilities with entities that receive Title X money. Planned Parenthood stands to lose about $60 million in federal funding as a result of the rule, which was upheld by a federal court of appeals last month.
Planned Parenthood has also faced increased scrutiny following the release of a series of undercover videos in 2015 in which executives at the organization appear to be discussing the transfer of body parts from aborted babies for money, a practice that would violate federal law.
(Story continues below)
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