Dr. Leana Wen, on her first official day as president of Planned Parenthood Monday, fretted about the potential repeal of Roe v. Wade by a conservative Supreme Court, saying abortion restrictions in the United States concerned her from a "public health perspective."
Much of her interview on "CBS This Morning" centered around the controversial organization's performance of abortion procedures. Planned Parenthood, which received more than $540 million from American taxpayers last year, is the country's largest abortion provider.
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"So is this argument that Roe v. Wade is going to be overturned, is that hyperbole?" CBS host Norah O'Donnell asked.
"There is a very real likelihood that Roe v. Wade could be overturned in this Supreme Court, which would leave 25 million women, which is a third of women of reproductive age in this country, without access to reproductive rights," Wen said.
"Not Roe v. Wade itself, but essentially some other case that comes through that restricts abortion rights?" O'Donnell asked.
"There are 15 cases right now that are just one step away from the Supreme Court, and in the last seven years, there have been 400 laws passed in different states that directly restricts women's access, and I am deeply concerned about this from a public health perspective," Wen said.
Wen said her work at the organization would continue to be "about saving people's lives."
"That's the work that we've done at Planned Parenthood for over 100 years, and I'm proud to keep on providing health care and protecting access to that care," she said.
Planned Parenthood and other progressive groups fought fiercely against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, often citing fears he would help overturn Roe v. Wade once he replaced Justice Anthony Kennedy, a frequent "swing vote" on the court.
Repealing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision affirming the legality of women to have abortions under the 14th Amendment, would not immediately criminalize abortion. The decision afforded women the right to have an abortion throughout their pregnancy but also set up conditions for individual states to regulate the practice in the second and third trimesters of a pregnancy, CNN reports.
Planned Parenthood calls itself a nonpartisan organization, but the Center for Responsive Politics said the Planned Parenthood Action Fund PAC contributed about $694,000 to congressional candidates in 2016, 98 percent of which went to Democratic candidates, according to FactCheck.org.
That year, then-President Cecile Richards, the daughter of former Democratic Texas Governor Ann Richards, spoke at the Democratic National Convention on behalf of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.