Planned Parenthood Federation of America just announced their new president, Dr. Leana Wen. This is the first time in fifty years that a physician has been the president of Planned Parenthood. Dr. Wen was the “Doctor for the City” in Baltimore, where she served as the city’s Commissioner of Health.
What does this mean for New Mexico?
Dr. Wen’s experiences as a Chinese immigrant whose family relied on Medicaid and who personally relied on the services of Planned Parenthood as well as her dedication to public health means she knows firsthand what many rural and urban communities and communities of color face when it comes to health disparities. Not only have Planned Parenthood clinics closed but so have privately owned hospitals, leaving many rural towns who need emergent and obstetric care to fall through the cracks. The Medicaid program in New Mexico covers about 64% of the state’s children up to the age of 20
In New Mexico, despite having the best legislative access to abortion care in the country, our state still faces barriers geographically and many times, financially. In 2017, ten Planned Parenthood clinics closed their doors, including in New Mexico; these clinics mostly served low-income people and provided necessary preventive and reproductive healthcare.
In a time when too many people running for office do not trust people to make decisions about a pregnancy in consultation with their doctor and family, it is exciting to have Dr. Wen’s trusted leadership at the helm of Planned Parenthood.
Watch Dr. Wen’s introductory video here: