Brilliant Asian American doctor helps mothers choose whether their child will live or die in the womb
When Dr. Leana Wen was a child in China, she wondered if her father would survive severe gastrointestinal bleeding. Now, she doesn't apply the same unconditional hope or protection for all vulnerable human life. As president of Planned Parenthood, she allows women, teen girls, and their immediate families decide whether their baby is worth keeping, or merely an inconvenience.
Dr. Wen is a brilliant doctor. As the former Baltimore commissioner of health for the city of Baltimore, she instituted a program that reduced infant mortality by 38 percent, provided free eyeglasses to every public-school student who needed them, and saved nearly 3,000 lives by making the opioid-overdose antidote Narcan available over-the-counter to every resident in the city.
After getting her medical degree, she went on to become a Rhodes scholar, president of the American Medical Students Association and a Harvard Medical School clinical fellow. She also did a fellowship with the World Health Organization in Geneva, worked in Rwanda with women affected by HIV/AIDS, and took a year off to lobby in D.C. for reproductive rights.
She came to the United States from China on a flight by herself. Her father gave her instructions when she left. Her father could not make the trip because of his illness, but came later after he recovered. Her mother was the first of them to leave the country; Wen and her father were meant to follow shortly thereafter.
It's an amazing story, except for the fact that now she is supporting the idea of ending life when it's considered an inconvenience. This is hard to grasp for many Americans. Otherwise compassionate and good doctors, wanting patients to have the best case available, show callous disregard for human life in the womb.
Somewhere along the way, during her education, she was probably told that reproductive rights are more important than the human right of the baby, the infant in the womb to live. Without talking to Dr. Wen in depth, we don't know when or how this happened. But it did happen.
Her is some of her explanation for defending reproductive rights as reproductive rights in an interview in the Rolling Stone:
“Now, it’s hard for Wen to pinpoint the pivotal moment when she realized that medicine was not just a matter of science but of social justice.”
“Medicine is not just a matter of science but of social justice.”
“Of course, there was her journey from China, but there was also the time in elementary school when she watched a neighborhood boy die of an asthma attack because his undocumented family was too scared to call 911.”
“There was the woman she saw die in the ER after a botched abortion, the young mother without insurance who waited more than a year to have a breast lump examined and died of metastatic cancer, the middle-aged woman who couldn’t afford her blood-pressure medication and was paralyzed by a stroke.”
“I mean, there are dozens, hundreds, countless examples like that,” says Wen.
“My patients are sick not just because of their illness, but because of so many other factors in our system that are making them ill. And I would not be the best doctor I can be if I did not also fight against these systemic injustices.”
There are all kinds of social injustices in the world. The question is how we get from social injustice, to thinking that it’s not a social injustice to make sure that vulnerable, viable human life is killed instead of kept alive.
She became an ER doctor because she “never wanted to turn anyone away.”
In her new role, Wen provides a clear signal that Planned Parenthood is not just an advocacy group but a health care provider, serving 8,000 people in this country every day with services such as birth control, breast exams and STD screenings. But, as she well knows, access to health care requires activism.
“We should not be singling out and stigmatizing one aspect of health care,” she says. “I know, as a physician, that reproductive health care is health care, that women’s health care is health care, that abortion is part of the full spectrum of reproductive health care and needs to be treated as the standard medical care that it is."
Yes, abortion is part of the full spectrum of services at Planned Parenthood. The problem is that Planned Parenthood would not exist or be a viable entity without providing abortion services. Profit from providing abortion services, many of which are costly, allow it to provide all of the other services it provides to the community.
Sadly, she immigrated from a country that previously had one child policy. Chinese officials even forced women who got pregnant with their second child to get an abortion. Americans are right to think that forcing a woman to have an abortion is wrong. But is it any more wrong to end the life of a child out of convenience?
Perhaps Dr. Wen should take time out of her busy schedule to watch to movie “Unplanned,” so she can see how a vulnerable human life tries to evade the abortionist's suction tube before it is sucked out of its mother’s womb.
All physicians in theory, subscribe to the Hippocratic Oath, which means they strive to provide the best in medical services, and help in every way possible, to sustain human life, not to end it. Sadly, physicians performing abortions, ignore the Hippocratic Oath.
They do harm to the unborn child, and often in the process harm the emotional well being of the mother. We can only hope that Dr. Wen will see the light, that she will know in her heart that the life of each unborn human is precious, whether it is convenient or not.
© 2019 Larry Ingram
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
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