Planned Parenthood announced that after 12 years of service to the organization, Cecile Richards has informed the Planned Parenthood Federation Board of Directors that she will be stepping down as president in 2018. Under Cecile Richards’ leadership, Planned Parenthood has grown stronger than ever, with more members, supporters, donors, and activists than at any other time in its 101-year history. Since its founding, Planned Parenthood has opened its doors to tens of millions of people, offering affordable health care and innovative educational tools to its patients each and every day.
Statement from Cecile Richards:
Leading Planned Parenthood over the last 12 years has been the honor of my lifetime. 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. I’m deeply proud of the progress we’ve made for the millions of people Planned Parenthood health centers serve across the country each year. Planned Parenthood has been a trusted resource in this country for more than a century, and I will be leaving the organization well-positioned to serve and fight for our patients for a century more. Every day we see the incredible power that grassroots voices can have — there has never been a better moment to be an activist. You can bet I’ll be marching right alongside them, continuing to travel around the country advocating for the basic rights and health care that all people deserve. I’ve been an activist my entire life — and that won’t stop any time soon.
Statement from Naomi Aberly, Chair of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Directors:
Under Cecile’s 12 years of leadership, Planned Parenthood has reached new heights. Cecile’s stewardship and dedication to women’s health has propelled our organization forward, mobilizing millions of supporters along the way and becoming a catalyst for activism. Because of Cecile’s leadership and the amazing team she has built, the organization is well-positioned to continue to fulfill our mission of delivering quality, accessible sexual and reproductive health care and ensuring reproductive freedom.
During Cecile’s time as president, she grew Planned Parenthood’s base of supporters from three million to 11 million, and she helped to build the organization’s donor base to its largest ever. She has led efforts to create new ways for Planned Parenthood patients to get the care they need, through the technology they use every day. She made sure Planned Parenthood was at the forefront of efforts to expand access to birth control and preventive care under the Affordable Care Act. And today, the nation is at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancy in the U.S.
From 2013 to 2015, there was an 80 percent increase in Planned Parenthood affiliates that reported offering hormone therapy (HT) for transgender patients. Today, Planned Parenthood health centers in 20 states currently offer HT for transgender people. Planned Parenthood is a medical research leader, conducting the most cutting-edge reproductive health research in the world – including, most recently, self-injectable birth control and abortion via telemedicine, which helps connect patients to doctors in areas where they are scarce.
Over the last several years, Planned Parenthood’s mission of providing health care to women across the country has come under attack by politicians bent on ending access to reproductive health care. Cecile Richards has led the organization’s efforts to defend and extend women’s access to health care, including access to birth control.
Statement from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:
“Cecile Richards’ life is a portrait of energy, intellect, and determination. Her brilliant leadership of Planned Parenthood has advanced tremendous progress in the fight to expand access to quality, affordable health care for all and to uphold a woman’s right to control her own private health decisions. As an organizer, activist, and leader, Cecile has helped launch a nationwide movement to defend and advance women’s rights, and in doing so, she has inspired countless women to march, vote, run, and win. Her leadership will be deeply missed, but I am confident that Cecile will continue to be a warrior for all women as she begins the next chapter of her journey.”
Statement from Senator Kamala Harris:
“Cecile has shown what it means to be a true fighter for the rights of women. In the face of unprecedented attacks, she has never backed down from a fight and always stood strong for the patients and doctors at Planned Parenthood and women across America. She put inclusive access to reproductive health care at the forefront of the political conversation and has shown it is not only key to women’s well-being, but also to true equality.”
Statement from Dr. Hal Lawrence, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
“There’s a reason why Cecile electrifies a room and energizes women of all ages. She’s brave. She’s a leader. She believes deeply in women’s health. She speaks from her heart and to our intelligence. She stands tall in the face of incredible odds and threats. She’s built an incredibly deep bench of advocates, and brought our nation to a strong position to ensure her legacy continues to grow. We admire her, we thank her tremendously for her enormous dedication to what’s best for women, and we look forward to watching her continue fighting for women.”
Statement from Lillian Tamayo, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East, and North Florida:
“As the leader of our federation for over a decade, Cecile has been tireless in protecting and expanding our ability to provide care to the people who need it most. She has made our organization strong and able to confidently take on any challenge. I’ve known Cecile long enough to know she’ll never stop being a champion for the people we serve and this organization that she loves.”
Statement from Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:
“Cecile Richards is a transformational change agent – and not just for Planned Parenthood. More importantly, she is a once-in-a-generation leader who shifted the trajectory of women’s rights and reproductive rights in this country. Cecile took a storied organization and built it into a powerhouse and political juggernaut that is a force to be reckoned with — on both sides of the aisle. The fact that Donald Trump failed in his promise to “defund” Planned Parenthood has everything to do with whom he was up against; Trump never stood a chance against Cecile Richards.”
Statement from Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign:
“To know Cecile Richards is to know what it means to be bold, to persevere, and to lead. She is a giant — not only of the civil rights movement, but of American politics and society. Cecile has devoted her life and her career to making this country a more just and fair place for all people, particularly those who have been intentionally marginalized or left behind. Because of her leadership, Planned Parenthood is today one of the nation’s largest providers of trans-inclusive health care, and serves a crucial, lifesaving role in administering more than 700,000 HIV tests every year. For millions of people in this country and around the world, her lasting legacy will be access to services and opportunities that might otherwise have been denied to them. But it is her inability to accept defeat that has inspired a generation of fighters and advocates. She has set an immeasurable and extraordinary example for all of us to follow — and I can’t wait to see what she does next.”
Statement from Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino
“Under Cecile’s leadership, Planned Parenthood has underscored its commitment to providing quality health care to people no matter where they live or where they come from. And she and Planned Parenthood have stood in solidarity with the Latinx community, joining our fight to protect the Dreamers and resist the Trump’s administration’s assault on our rights and values.”
The organization will be announcing future plans after the upcoming meeting of the Planned Parenthood Federation Board of Directors next week.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.