Cecile Richards: Hollywood must respond after Roe’s decision against Wade

Cecile Richards, a longtime women’s rights activist and former president of Planned Parenthood, has a message for the shocked, privileged women of Hollywood: Speak It Out.

While the harsh reality of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Sinking to topple Wade, Richards challenges entertainment industry leaders to share deeply personal stories of how family planning efforts have impacted their lives. Richards, who has run Planned Parenthood for a dozen years since 2006, claimed that industry insiders are required to use their megaphones to draw attention to the urgency of the situation.

“This is a national health crisis,” Richards said diversity. “The way you see people coming together for tsunami relief, people need to come together and say, ‘This is a crisis and we’re going to fight it.'”

There are other urgent needs in the long fight to restore a woman’s right to vote, Richards said, particularly to raise money and get more voters to the polls. But she sees a special role for storytellers in shaping public awareness of what has been lost and what other rights may be under threat, particularly with Justice Clarence Thomas’ reference to cases involving same-sex marriage Marriage and access to contraception goes light as decisions that need to be reviewed by Roe are overturned.

“It’s important for people to share their own experiences,” said Richards, who is now co-chair of the American Bridge 21st Century Political Action Committee. “Not just abortion stories, but how being able to plan their families changed their lives. That takes it out of any constitutional or legal framework. It can be an eloquent discussion of the difference family planning has made for women in America in enabling them to finish school, become an actress, or write their play, or do their music. This decision will rob people of that.”

Richards added, “Whatever people who have a platform and an audience can say about how important this right was to them will be important for people to understand how much we have to fight for it for other people.”

Like millions of Americans, Richards admitted Friday that he was taken aback by the scale of the formal decision, despite the High Court’s move having been predicted in May when an early draft of the decision was released by Politico. She was also struck by the disconnect between American young adults, who will bear the brunt of massive social change if they are not well represented at the ballot box.

“There is a generation of young people who have just lost a fundamental right and no one has even asked them. No one considered the impact on their life,” Richards said. “Young people need to understand that voting is important. People need to understand that there is a political solution, albeit not immediate, to restore the rights people had for 50 years.”

In the short term, an important way to channel angry energy is to support organizations that help those who have to travel abroad to have an abortion. There is also a great need to support organizations like Planned Parenthood and medical providers who are under extreme pressure to provide abortion and contraception services.

“They really are under the gun. In Chicago, for example, it’s estimated that about 30,000 more patients will come to them this year,” Richards said, because of state bans imposed after Roe’s decision. “No one is prepared for that.”

Neither do many of the women who face higher hurdles of travel expenses when they have to seek a legal abortion in another state. A new wave of activism will focus on raising money and other resources to help women of limited means. “The vast majority of them will not have easy access to the funds they need to get out of the state or the ability to find a provider,” Richards said.

Richards stressed that the biggest challenge ahead is realizing how long it is likely to take to restore the rights that a generation and a half have had for women since the original Roe v Wade decision was announced in 1973.

“We have to recognize that the people who are fighting for our rights have been doing this for decades,” Richards said with grim determination. “We’re not getting out of here anytime soon”

Richards, the daughter of the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards, a pioneer and beloved progressive icon, also had some advice for women affected by the loss of legal protections afforded by the Roe v. Wade and left in a raging daze in 1992 Casey v. Planned Parenthood on the grounds that women’s bodies have the right to privacy, equal protection and due process.

“There will be protests everywhere,” Richards said. “It’s always important that everyone does something more than you’ve ever done before. That might mean speaking at a demonstration, holding a fundraiser for a candidate who is a women’s rights activist, or doing something else. Activism can take many different forms.”

https://variety.com/2022/politics/news/cecile-richards-roe-v-wade-abortion-supreme-court-1235303067/ Cecile Richards: Hollywood must respond after Roe’s decision against Wade

Charles Jones

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