President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richard has had enough with the politicians who want to constitute women’s health. She made that much clear during a candid conversation on Thursday with Fusion’s Alicia Menendez at Tina Brown’s Annual Women in the World Summit.
“People of America do not like it when the politicians put their own personal politics ahead of health & lives of women,” she said, highlighting the current crop of the GOP presidential hopefuls.
When Alicia Menendez had asked about Trump’s recent statement that women who’ve abortions should face “some form of punishment,” the Planned Parenthood President responded seamlessly.
“I am just honestly so sick of men telling us what to do with our bodies,” she said, to moving cheers in packed Lincoln Center theater. Richards also laid out why Donald Trump’s rhetoric was not actually so out of stage from that of his GOP colleagues:
Cecile also spoke about Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, case that is currently before Supreme Court that challenges the HB-2, Texas legislation that’s well shuttered half of state’s abortion clinics.
(The laws necessitate that the doctors at clinics have admitting privileges at the local hospitals, and requires the clinics to elevate in costly & unnecessary ways to look like the surgical centers. The legislation also dictates 3 separate appointments for women wanting to get medication abortion and banning abortions after 20 weeks.)
“Roe v. Wade is law of the land and is a constitutional right. However, I believe very firmly that it is not a right if you cannot access it. What’s really before the court is, can the state write bills & laws that are so extreme that it effectively ends this constitutional right for women.”
Moreover, as Menendez pointed out, the SCOTUS rulings & the new legislation have lasting impact on real women, most of whom are far detached from country’s political apparatus. She asked Planned Parenthood President that what impact she has seen HB-2 have on women of Texas.
“I was in the Fort Worth the other day & a young woman stopped me,” replied Richards. “She said, ‘Thank you for opening up [a Planned Parenthood in the Fort Worth]. I live in Midland and I’d to drive 400 miles to access the abortion services.’ Therefore, that is actually the impact. But it is far beyond abortion!… The majority of people who come to the Planned Parenthood come for birth control or for cancer screening.”
However, Richards & Menendez both stressed that it was not all bad news. Regardless of the regressive movement, we have seen when it comes to legislature surrounding the abortion care, pop culture representations of women who’ve abortions have massively enhanced over the last few years.
“It is really important that we take away stigma that has been put on women for making important personal decisions about our reproductive care,” said Richards. “And I think there is a culture shift that is happening in this country.”
On this, unsurprisingly, she got a standing ovation.