The president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen, was ousted Tuesday after just eight months on the job as the organization faced unprecedented challenges related to its role as the leading abortion provider in the US. Wen, in a Twitter post, said she learned that Planned Parenthood's board "ended my employment at a secret meeting." She indicated the board wanted more emphasis on political advocacy, while she sought to prioritize Planned Parenthood's role as a provider of health care services ranging from birth control to cancer screenings, the AP reports. "We were engaged in good faith negotiations about my departure based on philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood," Wen said. "I am stepping down sooner than I had hoped." Without elaboration, Planned Parenthood announced Wen's departure via a Twitter post, thanking her for her service and wishing her luck going forward.
It also announced that Alexis McGill Johnson, co-director of a research consortium called the Perception Institute, will serve as acting president of Planned Parenthood and its political wing, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, while a search for new permanent leader is conducted. Wen's departure came as the Trump administration announced it would start enforcing new rules that ban taxpayer-funded family planning clinics referring women for abortions. Planned Parenthood, the largest recipient of those funds, says it will not abide by those rules. With about 400 clinics, Planned Parenthood is the largest provider in the federal family planning program for low-income women, known as Title X. The program does not pay for abortions, but until now clinics had been able to refer women for the procedure. Jacqueline Ayers, Planned Parenthood's top lobbyist, said its clinics will stop accepting federal money and tap emergency funding as they press Congress and the courts to reverse the administration's ban. (Read more Planned Parenthood stories.)