Former Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards said women are dependent on abortion for their freedom because, without it, they cannot control their own bodies.
“If you can’t control your own body, you are not free,” Richards said. “That is a fundamental issue, and I don’t think we can, like, make any bones about that.”
The former head of America’s largest abortion vendor has been promoting her new book, Make Trouble, since she stepped down from her post on May 1.
“We are seeing, I believe, the last gasp of the patriarchy in this country,” Richards said, charging the Trump administration with promoting the notion “that somehow they’re going to take women back to the 1860s.”
Without any acknowledgment that, when a woman is pregnant, there are two lives to consider, Richards asserted that politicians who do not support abortion rights are actually against women’s freedom.
“Is this really about some moral or religious issue or is this really about controlling women’s bodies?” she asked. “And that’s what it’s about.”
Richards – the daughter of the late Texas governor Ann Richards – snickered when she said she was born in Waco but then perked up when she touted, “Actually, you know what, though, Planned Parenthood just opened a brand new health center in Waco, Texas, providing abortions!”
While growing up, Richards said her family moved from Dallas to Austin – “where it was more progressive and there was a lot of hippies there and, you know, tie-dyeing, and people wearing dashikis and growing organic food … but so my family liked it a lot better.”
During the interview, Richards bragged about getting called into the principal’s office when, in seventh grade, she wore a black armband to school to protest the Vietnam War. She said that this incident and other run-ins with authorities taught her “that, you know, just taking action you can actually get the attention of the authorities.”
Richards said she “perfected” her “troublemaking in college” at Brown University where she became involved in fighting for labor issues and divestment in South Africa.
“I’ve always been in the center of controversy … in fact, I’ve kind of always thought if I wasn’t pissing someone off, I really wasn’t probably doing my job,” she said, adding that she has had “the privilege of being a troublemaker.”
Asked how she dealt with the loss of Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump in 2016, Richards replied she and her daughter Lily, who also worked on the Clinton campaign: “we just like, you know, lay in bed, weeping inconsolable.”
Richards said the Trump Department of Health and Human Services has been “stocked full of people who are not healthcare providers.”
“They are right-wing fanatics about trying to end birth control and access to reproductive health care,” she said.
Claiming that with the addition of the Planned Parenthood membership of young people and people of color, “we’re now actually more than twice the size of the National Rifle Association,” Richards added, “The reason why that matters is because that’s how we’re gonna change the politics in America.”
Pro-life leaders, however, see the “trouble” Richards has caused from a different perspective.
According to the Susan B. Anthony List, some 3.8 million babies were aborted during Richards’ 12-year tenure as president of Planned Parenthood:
“Under the leadership of Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood has grown to push one agenda – abortion above all else – while throwing aside any inkling of actual medical care,” Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, said.
The organization’s “abortion above all else” narrative made headlines in January when Planned Parenthood condemned the House’s approval of a bill that would require abortionists to immediately provide emergency medical care to an infant born alive during an abortion.
Nance also observed that during Richards’ tenure, Planned Parenthood “has been exposed for refusing to report statutory rape and abuse, for aiding sex traffickers, for taking money to abort black babies, and for illegally profiting off of the body parts they have aborted.”
Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood facility director and founder of And Then There Were None – an organization that helps abortion workers leave the industry – said Richards “leaves a trail of misery in her wake – over 2.5 million babies aborted on her watch, a decrease of 51% in breast cancer screenings, a grand total of zero mammograms, a drop of 65% in pap smears, and an organization that has eschewed healthcare in favor of building a political movement by serving 670,540 less patients since 2006.”
Similarly, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, observed Richards leaves a legacy of “broken lives in her wake.”
“Her departure is evidence of the collapsing abortion industry, whose ugly reality was revealed in the horrific Center for Medical Progress undercover videos in which ghoulish Planned Parenthood workers and vendors gloated about the money they were making,” Hawkins said.
“Pregnancy is not a disease cured by abortion,” she added. “Yet Richards has deceived the American people about the harmful impacts of abortion and the ugly realities of the predatory industry that she leads. Thankfully their own reports show that Planned Parenthood is losing patients.”