10 Cecile Richards quotes to inspire us as the Planned Parenthood president steps down

January 25, 2018

The president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, may be stepping down after leading the organization for ten years. We’re beyond sad to see the powerful activist go.

Jennifer Graylock/WireImage

The president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, may be stepping down after leading the organization for ten years. We’re beyond sad to see the powerful activist go.

On Wednesday, media outlets began reporting that Cecile Richards will be leaving Planned Parenthood, where she has been a tireless advocate for women’s rights, reproductive rights, sexual health, and health care access. In a political climate where access to abortion, birth control, STD testing, and even sex education should be concerns for everyone, Planned Parenthood has fought to provide services for all under Cecile Richards’s leadership. She fearlessly pushes forward any and every initiative and conversation that advocates for health care access and gender equality  — and that includes openly discussing her personal experiences with abortion and sexual assault.

To say that she’s badass, transparent, and a fighter for human rights would be an understatement.

While Richards may be leaving her post, she has left an indelible mark on the movement for accessible health care for all. As we excitedly wait to learn her next move, we’re letting the quotes below inspire us for the continuing fight ahead.

1 On destigmatizing abortion:

“I had an abortion. It was the right decision for me and my husband, and it wasn’t a difficult decision. Before becoming president of Planned Parenthood… I hadn’t really talked about it beyond family and close friends. But I’m here to say, when politicians argue and shout about abortion, they’re talking about me — and millions of other women around the country.”

2 On the importance of sex education:

“Recognize that appropriate sex education for every young person in this country isn’t just a great idea — it’s absolutely necessary. Even with teen pregnancy at the lowest point in history, the U.S. still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy among developed countries. This costs the U.S. about $9.4 billion each year — and more importantly, it costs young women their opportunities and their futures.”

3 On basic medical care for women:

“Women’s preventive care — including birth control — is basic health care. This shouldn’t be a revolutionary idea, but unfortunately it is to some.”

4 On the Planned Parenthood spirit:

“I also think there’s a spirit at Planned Parenthood: ‘Don’t tell me I can’t do something because that would just make me double down and do it even more.”

5 On the importance of just doing it, now:

“I almost didn’t interview for this job. I’ve never run anything this big. I had a list of all the things that I didn’t know how to do. But I did it anyway. I went ahead and tried it anyway. If you wait until everything lines up, it’s over.”

6 On the importance of young people in the movement:

“What encourages me is that not only are young people in this country with us, they’re interested in sex. They believe in access to sexual health services. They believe in LGBT rights. They believe in immigrant rights. They believe that the globe is, in fact, warming. They’re on a whole different track than where I think the right wing is in this country. And we have to invest in more young men and women across the country to be the leaders.”

7 On how far we’ve come:

“I try to remind people that Margaret Sanger was thrown into jail 99 years ago for handing out a pamphlet that now 6 million people on our website have access to. Not that long ago, young women were dying in emergency rooms from abortions, and now abortion is one of the safest medical treatments for women.”

8 On male politicians who just don’t get it:

“I think, look, until we have more people in Congress who have had to deal with a lump in their breast and are worried about, ‘Can I find an affordable provider that can see me now?’ — things are not going to change.”

9 On being unapologetically bold:

“If you’re not pissing someone off, you’re probably not doing your job.”

10 On the current political climate:

“I do believe that the world only rolls forward. That’s the way we have to look at this particular moment in time: as an opportunity to grow our movement like never before.”

Thank you for everything, Cecile Richards.

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