Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, spoke about her experience with sexual harassment at the ‘Women in the World Texas Salon’. She said that of course she has been sexually harassed, and which women hasn’t?
“I think a lot of us have a lot of shame about the incidents and that we didn’t do more at the time,” she said. “There wasn’t anywhere to go,” she said. She spoke about how at the time, she was afraid of losing her job, if she spoke out. That’s why it is important to share these stories, she said
Richards said that the theme of 2017 was the resilience of women. “We are not going back,” she said. She said that the #MeToo movement is not just about Hollywood celebrities and women in the news. The #MeToo will positively impact women even at the grassroots level, she said.
“It is about everyday women — and we have to support them, and we have to lift those stories up.”
She also spoke about how she wants to give credit to the women’s grassroots movement, including Women’s marches.
Planned Parenthood and Trump
Richards, who is an advocate for reproductive rights for women, spoke about a leaked memo which shows the Trump administration’s plans to redirect funding from artificial birth control to fertility awareness.
The Trump administration is under fire because it has signed a bill which will allow states to withhold money from organisations which provide abortion services, including family planning service, Planned Parenthood.
Most of the federal money Planned Parenthood receives goes towards birth control, pregnancy tests and women’s health-related services. Only around 3 per cent of the services it provides are abortions. This move reverses Obama’s legislation that had prohibited state governments from withholding federal funding for family planning services.
She said that women have stepped up and should continue to do so. Women in every walk of life are doing more than they have. “Everywhere I go, there are women organising…They are speaking out,” she said.