On the “Success! How I Did It” podcast, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood and author of “Make Trouble,” explains what happened when she met with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. For the full interview, search for “Success! How I Did It” on Apple Podcasts or your favourite app. Following is a transcript of the video.
Rich Feloni: You explained in the book this meeting that you had with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Where they invited you.
Cecile Richards: Right.
Feloni: What was that about?Richards: They wanted to meet about Planned Parenthood because I think they knew this was gonna be, I mean, Paul Ryan had already declared they’re were gonna defund Planned Parenthood. Even though I was, frankly, a little anxious about having that meeting because I didn’t know what to expect, I felt like I owed it to our patients to try. Certainly what Jared Kushner expresses, that he wanted us to quit providing abortion services to women in this country in exchange for keeping our public funding. And I just said, “You know, we really stand “for the right of women “to get their reproductive healthcare they need. “And that’s a legal service and it’s really important “that women can get it. “And we’re not gonna trade that off for money.” It didn’t go that well, but at the end of the day we were able to mount a campaign with hundreds of thousands of people around the country that supported Planned Parenthood and enable to keep our public funding and I hope we continue to do so.
Feloni: When you were having that conversation, what was going through your head when this proposal was made?
Richards: I thought this is my chance to educate the two of them about who we see, what we do, and, of course, reeducate them if they needed to know that federal funding doesn’t go for abortion services. So, in fact, the money that they were talking about cutting off from Planned Parenthood provides access to breast cancer screenings and birth control and STI testing and treatment. And for a lot of the women and young people who come to us, there’s no one else in town to do that work. Even though they understood that, I felt like they were trying to make kind of a political deal and that’s just not who we are at Planned Parenthood.
Feloni: And that even gets, again, back to the title of your book, it’s knowing when to shake things up in a good way. How do you find what you should be standing for? How should someone look internally for that?
Richards: You really should stand up, I believe, if you can, if you have the privilege that I have and really stand up for the things that you believe in and fight hard for hard stuff. I think if it’s easy someone else has probably already done it. It’s not that I’m a glutton for controversy, but I do think when it comes to LGBTQ rights, when it comes to women’s rights, when it comes to the right of everyone to have equal pay and a fair chance, those are hard fights. And I know we’ve learned people don’t give up power without a fight. I think about all the time I’ve spent in Congress fighting for women’s access to affordable healthcare or just access to be able to make their own decisions about their healthcare. I feel like I’d love to be still alive to see the day when half of Congress could get pregnant, and then I think we’d finally quit fighting about birth control and reproductive healthcare. That may be inciting controversy, but I think it really more is just hoping for a world that could be a little bit better than it is now.
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