Leana Wen Needs to Have a Extra Nuanced Dialog About Abortion

Leana Wen, the previous head of Deliberate Parenthood and a professor at George Washington College, addressed a controversial assertion she made on abortion in the course of the TIME 100 Well being Summit on Thursday. Wen kicked off a firestorm on Twitter Tuesday when she broke with typical Deliberate Parenthood language and stated that abortion needs to be “safe, legal and rare,” a Clinton-era phrase that has since gone out of vogue amongst many abortion rights activists.

Throughout Tuesday’s Democratic major debate, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard argued that abortion needs to be “safe, legal and rare,” prompting Wen to write down on Twitter, “I don’t agree with @TulsiGabbard on quite a bit, however do recognize that she introduced up the third rail for Democrats: that abortion needs to be ‘safe, legal, and rare.’ We must always cut back the necessity for abortions by investing in prevention.”

Within the many years since Clinton’s presidency, abortion rights activists have argued the “rare” categorization stigmatizes a process that almost one in 4 American girls will bear of their lives. Deliberate Parenthood has stopped utilizing the phrase on their supplies. Wen’s tweet elicited indignant responses.

Throughout a panel on girls’s well being on Thursday, Ariana Huffington requested Wen in regards to the backlash. After stating that banning abortion wouldn’t cease abortion, however would cease secure and authorized abortion, Wen went on to bemoan the dearth of nuance within the abortion debate.

“I’m deeply disturbed by how healthcare has become so politicized,” she stated. “So much so that we cannot even discuss our points of agreement and the nuanced views that many people can have without being attacked from all sides.”

TIME 100 Health Summit
Craig Barritt—Getty Pictures for TIME 100 Well being(L-R) Arianna Huffington, Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Naveen Rao and Christy Turlington Burns pose backstage in the course of the TIME 100 Well being Summit at Pier 17 in New York Metropolis on Oct. 17, 2019.

She went on: “A lot of us believe that abortion is a complex moral issue. And we may not want to have an abortion ourselves but would never get in the way of somebody else making this deeply personal medical decision for themselves. Or maybe we’re even uncomfortable about abortion but would not want women to die because they don’t have access to safe, legal abortion either.”

On Twitter, Wen has argued that pro-abortion rights activists have solely harm their trigger by refusing to undertake the “safe, legal and rare” language, permitting anti-abortion rights activists to forged the Professional-Selection motion as radical and excessive. This view stands in sharp distinction to these of Cecile Richards, her predecessor at Deliberate Parenthood, who promoted campaigns like “shout your abortion” in an effort to let girls know that they weren’t alone and de-stigmatize the observe.

Wen took over for Richards final 12 months, however departed from the group abruptly this summer time. She wrote in a New York Instances op-ed that she and her former colleagues had “philosophical differences” about the easiest way to guard girls’s well being.

“While the traditional approach has been through prioritizing advocating for abortion rights, I have long believed that the most effective way to advance reproductive health is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one,” she wrote. “I believed we could expand support for Planned Parenthood — and ultimately for abortion access — by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who can unite behind the goal of improving the health and well-being of women and children.”

Whereas on the time she didn’t particularly use the “safe, legal and rare” language, she has since urged that doing so would assist win Deliberate Parenthood extra supporters.

On stage on the Time 100 Well being Summit, she echoed that sentiment. “I hope that we can begin with these points of agreement and understand and accept the nuances and complexities, while emphasizing what we all know to be true that healthcare has to be a human right guaranteed for all and not just a privilege available only to some.”


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