Dr. Leana Wen, the former Planned Parenthood president who was ousted by the organization earlier this year over policy differences, tweeted her support for Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard saying abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” during Tuesday night’s debate.
“I don’t agree with @TulsiGabbard on a lot, but do appreciate that she brought up the third rail for Democrats: that abortion should be ‘safe, legal, and rare,’” the physician wrote. “We should reduce the need for abortions by investing in prevention.”
After receiving some criticism for the tweet, Ms. Wen cited her July 19 New York Times op-ed explaining why she left Planned Parenthood. She said pro-choice and progressive movements “will lose” elections unless they allow more people to join “who do not agree 100% with the most extreme ideology.”
“Most Americans hold complex truths: they can both personally oppose abortion & support others’ right to choose; they can both feel uncomfortable about abortion & not want women to die from back-alley procedures,” Dr. Wen tweeted. “If we understand reproductive healthcare to be the standard healthcare that it is, then use the language of public health. Take heart surgery. It’s a procedure that should be available if needed, but prevention is the best medicine. Access is not in conflict with prevention.”
Dr. Wen was fired by Planned Parenthood after only nine months on the job. She spoke about her experience last month at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, explaining that the organization wanted to focus on abortion politics while she saw more value in making reproductive rights a health care issue.
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