You may have heard of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. It ranked at No. 27 on Forbes magazine’s 100 largest charities in 2018, with a total revenue of $1.46 billion.
Understanding Planned Parenthood primarily as another business — simply another trusted American brand, giving customers what they want, just like a restaurant chain, a bookstore, or a fitness center—might help explain why Dr. Leana Wen appeared in a Corner Office column, in which New York Times business writer David Gelles engages executives in Q&A discussions about their lives and careers.
Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, Gwyneth Paltrow of Goop and inventor James Dyson are among other executives popping up at Corner Office in recent months. Such interviews are most engaging for those of us readers whose eyes glaze over at the first mention of a spreadsheet.
The key difference between these executives and Wen? Only Planned Parenthood will sell you a legal abortion.
Is it unreasonable to expect any mainstream news profile of Planned Parenthood’s chief executive to engage this point directly and to acknowledge major cultural and religious disputes about abortion law? Has abortion now become simply another part of culture’s Muzak, something we all know is a daily reality not discussed among the polite? There are no ethical or moral questions here that divide Americans?
Worse, has it joined the ever-growing list of Settled Topics among journalists, in which there are establishment heroes (abortion-rights advocates), villains (abortion-rights opponents) and color commentators (journalists)?
Wen was the focus of Corner Office on May 2, in conjunction with Planned Parenthood’s announcement that she would be the first physician to lead the organization. Gelles devotes roughly 1,700 to the edited transcript of his interview with Wen. How many times might you see a direct reference to abortion?
The winning answer: two, both from the spoken words of this former president of the American Medical Student Association.
When Wen has stirred herself to this remarkable flash of candor, it is within the context of casting those who oppose unlimited abortion rights in the worst possible light: