Lenny, Lena Dunham's feminist, politically progressive newsletter, is delighting women's rights supporters yet again with Tuesday's release of an interview with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. In her talk with Dunham, Richards delivered some awesomely inspirational quotes about the direction of American politics, resilience in the face of opposition, and her hopes for the improvement of women's rights in the future.
In an intro, Lenny editor-in-chief Jessica Grose writes that the interview was prompted by both the recent shooting at a Colorado Springs clinic and the Senate passing a bill that would defund the organization. And according to Dunham, readers have been relentlessly requesting to hear from the organization's poised president, who testified before Congress in an attempt to dissuade them from defunding Planned Parenthood.
Throughout the interview, the discussion is colorful and maintains a sense of humor, but Dunham strikes a serious chord when she mentions the shooting in Colorado Springs on Friday, Nov 27. Richards summed up the organization's commitment to its cause and its refusal to be silenced by explaining how the clinic reopened the next morning, and was met with women waiting in line outside.
She also gave readers a taste of her childhood, how she grew up in a family that was "into being against the status quo and making trouble," and her own experience with her children, who always have her back. Most of all, she emphasized that her efforts are on behalf of all people who support women's rights, boosting female agency, and fostering hope for the future. When you're feeling down about the lack of progressive thought in government, Richards' quotes are sure to lift your spirits and help you look forward to 2016.
1) In Response To The Planned Parenthood Shooting
... I actually feel like … we just carry on. Our motto is 'Our doors stay open.' And they do. We’ll move on from this.
2) On The Spirit Of Planned Parenthood Staff
I also think there’s a spirit at Planned Parenthood: 'Don’t tell me I can’t do something because that would just make me double down and do it even more.' I think that’s how people have kind of felt this fall.
3) On Testifying Before Congress
There’s nothing to be apologetic for, nothing to be ashamed of, so there’s a little bit of serenity. I remember, as I was going in, a friend of mine who has been a lawyer for good-guy causes all her life texted me something like, “May the rage of women through the centuries center you as you go into this.” So I think it was kind of bringing women in the room.
4) On The Collective Nature Of Pursuing Women's Rights
Look, it wasn’t about me. I think, really, I was just there as this placeholder for millions of women in the country who never get to testify before Congress.
5) On Her Daughter, Lily
One of my proudest moments as a mother was when Lily, my eldest, was called out by Rush Limbaugh on his radio show, by name. I was like: “My job is done, as a parent.”
6) On Her Son, Daniel
Again, it was like: Daniel is getting on a bus to go to Ohio to rally for Planned Parenthood. This movement is taking off. We’re going someplace.
7) On What Gives Her Hope For The Country
What encourages me is that not only are young people in this country with us, they’re interested in sex. They believe in access to sexual-health services. They believe in LGBT rights. They believe in immigrant rights. They believe that the globe is, in fact, warming. They’re on a whole different track than where I think the right wing is in this country. And we have to invest in more young men and women across the country to be the leaders.
8) On What We Can Do To Further Women's Rights
I think that one thing is, as unsexy as it may be, young women and young men: vote ... I think, too, and this is something you know a lot about, that the more that people can actually use creativity and art and culture to change the norms, it just has a profound effect. So whether it is people talking honestly on Girls about abortion, or Kerry Washington’s character having an abortion on Scandal, those are the things that people begin to normalize.