For months now, various state investigations have been clearing Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing over the allegations surrounding fetal tissue donation, allegations which have been loudly and falsely been spread by Republican politicians. On Monday, the whole issue came full circle when two of the people behind the videos used to smear Planned Parenthood were criminally indicted by a Republican prosecutor in Texas.
On Monday night, Planned Parenthood CEO and all-around goddess Cecile Richards appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes to perform a windswept victory dance on the grave of this fiasco, while reminding everyone how important it is to fight against the dangerous lies being told about women and their health care:
“Well, look, all of these videos have been thoroughly discredited. As we saw today in Houston, the perpetrators have been indicted. Words have meaning. People should think long and hard when they stigmatize women, health care providers, doctors. There’s nothing more tragic than what happened in Colorado Springs. It’s important that all women access health care in this country safely and without fear. That’s what we’re about at Planned Parenthood.”
That inhospitable environment is an excellent illustration of Cecile Richards’ importance to women’s rights, because she faces punishing conditions like that every day, but her toughness powers through it effortlessly, and without fanfare. This interview would have tempted most high-profile activists to launch into showy windmill punches and fancy rhetorical footwork, but Cecile kept it pitch-perfect, and all about the women she’s trying to protect.
Much has been made of Hillary Clinton’s testimony before Congress, but Cecile Richards faced down an equally hostile committee with exactly this grace and aplomb. Nothing can really compare to Cecile’s response when Rep. Jason Chaffetz tried to roll over her with some bullshitty chart:
“My lawyer is informing me the source of this is from Americans for Life, which is an anti-abortion group. So I would check your source.”
Richards’ toughness is, of course, tinged with the knowledge that there will probably never be a final victory against opponents of abortion rights, and that she will be standing in that wind for very long time.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.