After years of leadership, Cecile Richards is stepping down from her position as president of Planned Parenthood.
“Leading Planned Parenthood over the last 12 years has been the honor of my lifetime,” Richards said in an interview with The New York Times. “Together, we have made real progress in this country, expanding access to services and making reproductive rights a central priority of our nation’s health care system.”
During her time, Planned Parenthood has increased its presence in society, inspiring marches and all forms of social activism. The light shining down on feminism has brought more awareness and education about the resources Planned Parenthood has to offer.
“It is unacceptable that in the 21st century, women in America are routinely harassed for accessing a legal medical procedure,” Richards said on NPR. This is especially important to consider when looking at all of Planned Parenthood’s services.
Although the organization is more well known as a place to provide abortions, according to their website they offer many other services such as “general health (care), birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, pregnancy testing and services, abortion services and referrals, LGBT services, men’s health services, vaccines, and more.”
Despite providing a variety of services, Republicans in Congress have attempted on several occasions to cut government funding the organization receives.
“The election of Donald Trump as president came as a surprise to many who hoped to see Hillary Clinton elected as the first female president,” Sarah McCammon of NPR said. “She, of course, is an advocate of abortion rights. And abortion opponents have celebrated several victories under Trump, both in terms of policies to restrict abortion rights and his appointment of conservatives to the courts.”
Had these tries in removing funding become reality, subsidies provided to some patients would disappear entirely. For example, if Planned Parenthood was providing birth control to a patient to help regulate hormones during menstruation, cutting the funds would strip the patient of medication that plays a major role in their health.
This perspective often goes unseen by some people. Since Richards has stepped down, the organization has been under attack. The Daily Signal outlined supposed scandals, including the selling of fetal tissue, providing illicit medical counsel to under-age girls and more. Planned Parenthood has denied these claims, and no cases have been settled.
In the meantime, the organization does not have an immediate successor for Richards and are planning to finalize a candidate within the next week. Richards said she will continue to follow the path of involvement and equality.
“I’ve been an activist my entire life — and that won’t stop any time soon,” Richards said.
Armana Islam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.