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Planned Parenthood’s new president wants to make sex education more accessible with this chatbot

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24.01.2019

In her first two months on the job, Planned Parenthood’s new president, Leana Wen, has made one thing clear: Planned Parenthood has always been a healthcare provider, and that includes access to abortion and reproductive healthcare.

“That’s why immediately after I started, we launched the campaign called ‘This is Healthcare’ to reiterate that it’s well past time that we recognize that women’s healthcare and reproductive healthcare–including birth control, cancer screenings, abortion, and STD testing–is what it is,” Wen says. “It’s standard healthcare.”

As the first doctor to lead Planned Parenthood in almost 50 years, Wen is just the person to carry that message. When Wen was eight years old, her family immigrated to the U.S. from China, and they relied on Medicaid and Planned Parenthood. “I think about how much we struggled at times for something as basic as healthcare,” she says. “And it’s a privilege to be able to provide the type of care that my family and I benefited from when we needed it the most.” In her previous role as Baltimore’s health commissioner, Wen reduced the racial gap in black and white infant mortality by more than 50%, slashed teen pregnancy rates by 61%, and tackled opioid addiction by improving addiction treatment and effectively making naloxone (the drug that counteracts overdoses) an over-the-counter medication.

The choice to install Wen at the helm of Planned Parenthood on the cusp of 2019, especially after Cecile Richards’s tenure, seems like an intentional one. Though Planned Parenthood offers a spectrum of healthcare services to nearly 2.5 million patients per year, it has long been seen as a battleground for abortion rights. During Richards’s 12-year stint as president, Planned Parenthood had to fend off ceaseless attacks by a Republican-majority Congress looking to defund the organization and more recently, the Trump administration’s embrace of that agenda. That won Planned Parenthood more allies, too—it now has 12 million supporters, up from 3 million in 2006–but it also painted the organization as unapologetically political.

As the new face of........

© Fast Company