Cecile Richards spent 12 years as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood. When she stepped down at the beginning of May, she left the organization in the middle of a political and personal fight that has been raging for decades around reproductive and abortion rights.
Another shot in that battle was fired last week when the White House confirmed their support for a proposal that would bar certain federal funds, known as Title X funding, from going to any health organization that performs abortions.
So it would seem like now is an odd time for Richards to step down, but she told VICE News that she feels like Planned Parenthood has “invested in a whole generation of leaders. And it's important to step aside and make room for them.”
She was hired specifically to ramp up Planned Parenthood’s side of the long-running political fight over abortion and that she has been successful. Richards consistently cites the organization’s growth of 3 million to almost 12 million supporters in her 12 years working there.
She told VICE News that the message of reproductive rights that Planned Parenthood sells, in the long run, will beat out the conservative anti-abortion one.
“I think the Republican leadership in this country is on a iceberg that is getting smaller and is floating out to sea. Now they may have some victories but in the long haul they're going to lose because those are not victories that are supported by the American people,” Richards told VICE News..
But, her image of what the future might hold doesn’t totally sound like her side is winning. When asked to project where the politics on the issue of abortion is going she said, “I think that Roe is at stake and the Supreme Court and a lot else.” She continued, “I guess if I were to project ahead…there are going to be states where it's affordable, available, legal. Women can get [abortions] without stigma, without shame. And there are going to be states where it's really hard. And that would be my fear.”
This segment originally aired May 22, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.