Cecile Richards, the eldest daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, has chosen to step down as President of Planned Parenthood. She has been in charge of the nonprofit organization since 2006. Richards has overseen all decisions for the organization and has played a big part in advocating for reproductive rights. She hasn’t announced what the future holds for her, but she will remain a women’s rights activist. She’ll step down officially in May 2018.
Planned Parenthood offers general health care services, with an emphasis on reproductive health care. They also cater to those who are unable to afford proper health care. Planned Parenthood offers discount fees that helps cover the services offered in their clinics for those that cannot afford it, especially without insurance.
Conservatives have pushed to shut down and defund Planned Parenthood under Trump’s presidency. Trump has worked closely with a conservative organization in order to strip women’s reproductive health care from the Department of Health and Human Services plans. Since they no longer have to follow the rules that the Obama administration had that protected Planned Parenthood, they aimed to shut it down. Women would be impacted by the shutdown, particularly women of color. Poorer women of color rely on the services of the organization, leaning on them for affordable counseling, birth control, HIV screenings, and aid with pregnancies. Of all the women who rely on the organization, over 36% are low income women of color.
With Richards leaving the organization, there has been a search to find the best person to replace her. The committee in charge of picking Richard’s successor has discussed giving a woman of color, specifically a black woman, the position. Richards herself stated that white women must do more to support women of color. With the success of women in politics, the election of trans women in office, as well as many more everyday women becoming activists, Richards credits women of color for these major events.
In the meantime, Richards will spend her time promoting her new memoir titled Make Trouble: Standing up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead as well as fundraising and helping campaign for Democrats.
In the meantime, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood will take Richards’ place when she steps down in May.