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Planned Parenthood President Discusses Organization's Commitment to Women's Health

Planned Parenthood President Discusses Organization's Commitment to Women's Health

May 14, 2013 — In an interview with the New York Times MagazinePlanned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards discussed lessons learned from the presidential and gubernatorial campaigns in the previous few years.

Richards said she did not believe Planned Parenthood's decision to endorse President Obama in 2008 resulted in Congress' efforts to defund the organization in 2011, noting that Planned Parenthood was "just part of a much bigger effort to repeal decades of progress on women's health and rights." She added, "In 2010, the Tea Party came after everything -- Roe, birth control, they tried to overturn the family planning law that Nixon signed into law and Planned Parenthood too."

When pressed about whether the organization should "alienate half of Congress" by backing a political candidate, Richards said that Planned Parenthood is not about parties, "[w]e're about women's health and supporting folks who support women's access to health care and rights."

Richards added that there "are plenty of Republicans in office who" share Planned Parenthood's belief in "the right of women to make their own decisions about pregnancy, including the 40-year Roe decision" and "that women should be able to get access to health care, including birth control."

In regard to former Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) "legitimate rape" comment, Richards said, "Todd Akin is not an outlier." She added, "This type of discussion is pretty common in the House ... He made the mistake of actually laying it out there on a TV talk show."

Richards also commented on Susan G. Komen for the Cure's controversial decision to stop providing grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer education and screening programs, saying that Planned Parenthood is "proud" to provide more than 700,000 breast exams annually with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She noted, "We did more breast education and breast health last year than we've ever done in our history" (Goldman, New York Times Magazine, 5/10).