Cecile Richards is an American pro-choice activist who served as the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund from 2006 to 2018. She recently published her memoir Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, And Finding The Courage To Lead, discussing her upbringing and career.
As president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Ms. Richards leads a national organization that has worked for nearly 100 years to build a healthier and safer world for women and teens.
Since joining Planned Parenthood in 2006, Ms. Richards has expanded the organization’s advocacy for access to health care and ensured that Planned Parenthood played a pivotal role in shaping health care coverage and services for women under the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, she led an unprecedented nationwide campaign to preserve access to Planned Parenthood preventive care through federal programs. Under her leadership, the number of Planned Parenthood supporters has doubled, reaching more than seven million.
Before joining Planned Parenthood, Ms. Richards served as deputy chief of staff for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In 2004, she founded and served as president of America Votes, a coalition of 42 national grassroots organizations working to maximize registration, education, and voter participation.
Ms. Richards began her career organizing low-wage workers in the hotel, health care, and janitorial industries throughout California, Louisiana, and Texas. The daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Ms Richards was raised in a family committed to social justice and public service. She worked side by side with her mother on her very first campaign — the successful election to the state legislature of Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who argued the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.
Ms. Richards is a frequent speaker and commentator on issues related to women’s rights, reproductive health, and sex education, and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. She currently serves on the board of the Ford Foundation. She and her husband have three children.
Follow Cecile on Twitter @CecileRichards