Greeted with a standing ovation, the queen of the reproductive rights movement spoke to Fusion news anchor Alicia Menendez about a current Supreme Court case, Donald Trump, and why the Planned Parenthood Action Fund formally endorsed Hillary Clinton at this year's Women in the World summit in New York. In her normal cool and collected manner, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards summed up her feelings on Republicans' war on women in one simple sentence:
"I'm just honestly so sick of men telling us what to do with our bodies."
She noted that she would include Trump in that category, but the statement spoke to the much larger issue of conservative politicians limiting women's access to health care and reproductive services.
"Gynoticians" — politicians who feel more qualified than women and their doctors to make their health care decisions — have ramped up their efforts in recent years to effectively ban abortion, make it more difficult for women to get birth control, and defund Planned Parenthood. A total of 396 anti-abortion bills were introduced across the country in 2015, 57 of which were enacted across 17 states, meaning the pervasiveness of gynoticians reaches far beyond the presidential race and even Congress.
Regardless of the politician, Richards wants men everywhere to stop deciding what's best for women's bodies.
She could have talked about how dangerous restrictive laws are for women's health, and how abortion procedures are only a small part of the services Planned Parenthood provides (and she has), but the war some Republican politicians have waged on women's rights is really about telling women what to do — taking away an entire gender's autonomy. While they tout religious and moral reasons for limiting abortion access, it all boils down to this one simple principle. In fact, the GOP's recent surge of anti-abortion legislation seems to contradict the party's basic ideologies of small government and personal privacy. Nothing's more invasive than deciding what goes on in a woman's uterus.
"The people of America don't like it when politicians put their own personal politics ahead of people's health," Richards said Thursday. As a tireless advocate for women's reproductive rights, her comments highlighted how angry it makes her that men think they have the right to dictate women's choices. Above all else, reproductive rights are simply about giving women power over their own lives. No matter how you feel about abortion, feminists can agree that women deserve to decide their own life choices without unsolicited input or prodding from men.
Images: Women in the World/YouTube