Academics seek to cancel progressive doctor for not being left-wing enough

Academics seek to cancel progressive doctor for not being left-wing enough

America’s colleges are so left-wing that even a progressive doctor who once headed Planned Parenthood is facing calls that she be canceled as a speaker. The College Fix reports on how public-health professors are trying to cancel her speech:

More than 400 public health professionals and “allies” wrote a statement calling for the cancellation of Leana Wen as keynote speaker for the 2022 American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, accusing the doctor, columnist, and health policy scholar of promoting harmful health policies. “Through her platform on news outlets and social media, Dr. Wen … has promoted unscientific, unsafe, ableist, fatphobic, and unethical practices during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the statement.

Public health professors Dabney Evans at Emory University and Caryn Bell at Tulane were among the many academics who signed their names to the letter. Other signatories included University of Washington nursing professor Nora Kenworthy and Boston College global health professor Tara Casebolt.

As examples of “unsafe” or “unscientific” recommended practices, the letter cited several op-eds by Wen, including one suggesting that COVID-19 infection should be understood as a “new normal,another arguing that COVID-19 closure learning loss has harmed children, and a third suggesting that municipalities should lift some COVID restrictions.

The letter also cited as “fatphobic” a tweet from Wen to Krispy Kreme asking that they refrain from giving away free donuts to encourage vaccination.

Wen is research professor of health policy and management at George Washington University’s Milken Institute of Public Health and a contributing op-ed columnist for The Washington Post. She is also the former president of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion vendor…..In an op-ed for the Washington Post in February 2022, she warned against the “extreme” view of “offer[ing]” no reasonable endpoint for restrictions and mak[ing] continued masking a symbol of their belief in science.”….

Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist and epidemiology professor at the University of California, San Francisco, tweeted a video of himself criticizing the letter on Wednesday. “Open letter to APHA says Leana Wen was on wrong side of abortion debate (She is not pro-choice enough as former Pres of Planned Parenthood!) & is ‘fatphobic’ b/c she says eating Krispy Kreme EVERY DAY is bad,” he tweeted….The statement concluded with demands that the American Public Health Association rescind its speaking invitation to Wen and replace her with “someone who is capable and can speak to evidence-based practices rooted in a collective responsibility for health equity.”

The attacks on Wen for opposing school closures shows just how extreme these so-called “public health professors” are. School closings increased societal mortality rates.

Advocates of school closings claimed they were needed to protect people’s health. But by driving up obesity rates, school closings harmed students’ health. And shutting schools actually increases COVID-19 deaths, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

Many kids became fatter when schools closed to in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Overweight or obesity increased among 5- through 11-year-olds from 36.2% to 45.7% during the pandemic, an absolute increase of 8.7% and relative increase of 23.8%,” noted the Journal of the American Medical Association.

That’s made the effects of the pandemic much worse.

“The evidence linking obesity to adverse COVID-19 outcomes is ‘overwhelmingly clear,’” say health experts. Over half of all people hospitalized for the coronavirus are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Children almost never die of the coronavirus, but they can suffer a lot from it, if they are fat. Obese people are much more likely to require hospitalization when they contract the coronavirus.

Closing schools did not prevent COVID from spreading. Moreover, “schools do not, in fact, appear to be major spreaders of COVID-19,” said Brown University Professor Emily Oster. And “even if there were no spread in schools, we’d see some cases” among students and teachers, “because students and teachers can contract the disease off campus.” There is “little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to community transmission,” according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

“Researchers from Yale University surveyed more than 57,000 U.S. child care providers.…They found no association between contracting the virus and exposure to child care,” reported the American Academy of Pediatrics. Studies find that children are less likely to contract the virus than adults and also less likely to spread it.

In the past, the CDC has pointed out that closing schools “can lead to severe learning loss,” and that school closures kill more children than COVID. Moreover, “extended closures can be harmful to children’s mental health and can increase the likelihood that children engage in unhealthy behaviors.” As the head of the CDC noted in 2020, among the young, “we’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from COVID. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose” due to school closings.

In Virginia, school closings contributed to the “biggest collapse in pass rates in the history” of standardized testing, noted journalist James A. Bacon. Schools where students learned only online had a 35.7% decline in pass rates, much worse than schools that remained open to in-person learning.

Politics, not public health, was behind most decisions to keep schools closed. Local officials’ decisions were driven mainly by teachers “union influence and politics, not safety,” reported Reason Magazine. It noted that Jon Valant, a researcher at the liberal Brookings Institution, found that decisions to keep schools closed were driven by politics, not levels of “COVID-19 risk.” Left-wing teachers unions repeatedly thwarted school reopenings. Some used “sick-outs” to shut down schools and force school boards to delay school openings.

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at


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