Cecile Richards, who led Planned Parenthood through 12 tumultuous years, says she is stepping down as president.
Under Richards’ leadership, the organization gained in membership and donor support but found itself in constant conflict with social conservatives for its role as the leading abortion provider in the United States.
The organization provides a range of health services at clinics nationwide. Republicans in Congress tried repeatedly to cut off federal funding that helps subsidize Planned Parenthood’s services to some patients. Several congressional committees investigated the organization’s role in providing post-abortion fetal tissue to researchers.
The 60-year-old Richards is the daughter of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards. Before joining planned Parenthood, she was a union organizer and deputy chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, among other roles.
Read Richards’ statement and see her announcement video, posted to Twitter, below:
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.
After 12 years, I will be stepping down from my position as president of Planned Parenthood this year. pic.twitter.com/L6ttLDjyS1
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) January 26, 2018