Before 2017, not many people had heard of Cecile Richards. As the president of Planned Parenthood, she rose to national prominence in the face of her organization’s defunding from federal coffers. While PP continues to fight for medical care for women across the country, new reports suggest that Richards will announce her retirement from the boardroom at next week’s meeting.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, which first reported her supposed exit, Planned Parenthood said, “Cecile plans to discuss 2018 and the next steps for Planned Parenthood’s future at the upcoming board meeting.” The statement gave no indication as to whether the rumors of her departure are accurate.
Richards’ tenure at PP, which began in 2006, has helped shine a spotlight on the loosely connected series of women’s health clinics, working to correct the stigma associated with the services they offer. It seems a part of her mission has been to educate people about what exactly PP does. While many look at the organization as simply a provider of abortions and related services, PP does more than just support reproductive health.
The 100-year-old organization, which provides health care to five million Americans each year, says only three percent of its services are abortion related, with the other 97 percent devoted to pregnancy prevention and education, cancer screenings, wellness check ups, STI testing, and even prenatal care.
Richards’ memoir, Make Trouble, about her career at Planned Parenthood as well as within politics as an activist and former staffer at Nancy Pelosi’s office, is set to be released in April of this year, which may be one of the reasons she’s reportedly stepping down.
Although Richards has yet to comment on the reports, supporters are already speculating about the executive’s next move, with fans taking to Twitter to gently suggest she run for Governor of Texas, like her mother, former Gov. Ann Richards, before her.
Richards’ rumored departure may leave the future of PP up in the air, as she has been a leading voice for activists and a major champion for fundraising, and the reports have surprised some longtime Democratic supporters of the org. “She’s someone we have partnered with very happily,” Democratic donor Tom Steyer said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post. “If she stops, I hope it’s because she’s doing something new and important. If she ran for any office, I’d support her.”
What do you think about Cecile Richards’ possible exit? Let us know @BritandCo.
(photo via Rachel Murray/Getty Images for AOL)