The Planned Parenthood organization announced on Tuesday that it has removed its president, Dr. Leana Wen, less than one year after appointing her. The organization said in a statement, “we thank Dr. Leana Wen for her service to Planned Parenthood in such a pivotal time and extend our best wishes for her continued success.” Wen — the first physician to lead Planned Parenthood — took over in November 2018 after longtime president Cecile Richards stepped down. 

Wen tweeted that her removal came after the organization’s board held a “secret meeting” in which they decided to remove her from her post. She said in a statement: “I am leaving because the new Board Chairs and I have philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood. I believe that the best way to protect abortion care is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one, and that we can expand support for reproductive rights by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who understand reproductive health care as the fundamental health care that it is.”

However sources familiar with the organization said her removal was due to management and leadership challenges, including mistrust between the existing staff and the new hires she had brought in. 

Planned Parenthood has replaced Wen with Alexis McGill Johnson, who will be stepping in as acting president immediately. Johnson has served as a Planned Parenthood board member for almost a decade and acted as its board chair from 2013 to 2015.

Dr. Leana Wen Is Officially Out as President of Planned Parenthood


Editorial credit: Ken Wolter /