Why School Funding Will Always Be Imperfect

Her most overarching achievement, however, was in knitting together the different branches of her organization into a brand unlike any other in American politics. When Richards first took over, Planned Parenthood still saw itself as two mostly separate, uneasily linked entities: Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the century-old nationwide web of health-care clinics, and its advocacy sister, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

The status quo wasn’t working for either arm, Richards says. The clinics were facing an increasingly hostile political climate, but the political affiliate was not strong enough to provide any cover, much less improve the situation. Richards says she felt like the group was forever asking politicians to take tough votes on its behalf but lacked the necessary clout to influence the debate. And so Richards set about forging the pieces into a politically potent movement—one increasingly outspoken and unapologetic about its role as the nation’s largest abortion provider. Bye-bye to all the cautious, Clinton-era talk about abortion needing to be “safe, legal, and rare.” Richards had Planned Parenthood backers (herself included) out publicly sharing their abortion stories in an effort to shift the debate and erase the stigma.

The evolution was not without bumps. In the early going, she recalls, many supporters were a bit twitchy. “A lot of our donors are people who write us a $25 check once a year, and they were like, ‘Well, I really give you money because I know you provide birth control for women who can’t get it, but that other stuff—’” Richards makes a humming sound of ambivalence. “Now they expect us—and I’ve been watching this over 12 years—they expect us to be out on the forefront of women’s issues.” (And not just traditional women’s issues. Planned Parenthood, Richards notes, took a strong stand in defense of the Dreamers in the ongoing immigration debate.) Today, Richards says, some supporters are more interested in being clinic escorts while others want to lobby congress. “But they don’t see themselves as separate entities.” (Though the two organizations are careful to maintain their legal distinctness.)

Source : https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/05/cecile-richards-legacy/559781/

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