Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who will be leaving the abortion giant in May, wrote a glowing profile for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018 list praising her as a woman who “has done more than anyone else in office to advance women’s equity and opportunity, and to build a stronger future for generations to come.”
However, one thing that Richards does not mention in the profile is a major and rather telling area of disagreement between herself and Pelosi – pro-life Democrats. Despite Richards repeating on her book tour the talking point that Democrats should only be personally pro-life and should not actually push to make abortion illegal, there are inconvenient quotes from Pelosi arguing that pro-life Democrats should be welcome in the party.
Richards was confronted by this discrepancy at one of her appearances with the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.
She was first asked if it was “a requirement that in order to be a feminist you have to be pro-choice?” and if it was possible to be a pro-life feminist.
“I think the pro-choice pro-life nomenclature,” Richards replied, “it’s completely outdated and kind of irrelevant and it’s not actually how most people think of the issue of abortion and so I think to the extent that the question isn’t what do you personally feel about abortion, the question is what should the government be able to do to tell a woman what to do with her body?”
She explained that on the abortion issue, the government shouldn’t be involved and that real feminists have to be pro-abortion.
“I don’t believe it’s the right of politicians and government to tell women what they should do or any person what they should do about their pregnancy,” she emphasized, “I think to be a feminist if you believe in women’s autonomy and you believe in women’s equal rights, you have to agree that part of that right is to determine what you do with your body, that’s just pretty fundamental to me.”
The interviewer brought up that Pelosi disagrees on that point.
“But what about like Nancy Pelosi has said that you know that the party needs to accommodate, she points out that a whole lot of members of her own family oppose abortion and she thinks that the party can’t be, the Democratic party cannot become too rigid,” she said. “There are parts of the country where a candidate, a Democrat who opposes abortion is just going to be more electable than a Democrat that doesn’t.”
“This is the Democratic Party. This is not a rubber-stamp party,” Pelosi told The Washington Post last May, adding that she grew up “in a very devout Catholic family,” and saying, “my family, extended family — are not pro-choice. You think I’m kicking them out of the Democratic Party?”
“I just don’t think that a woman’s right to control her body is something you can trade off for political expediency,” Richards replied, adding, “I have an enormous amount of respect for Nancy Pelosi, in fact, I write about some of my own experiences working for her and how she really held the line on women’s rights so that’s just, that’s my ethical point of view.”
“I will also say politically and again I’ve been in my twelve years of experience at Planned Parenthood, I’ve actually never seen a case in which it was advantageous for a candidate to be against women’s rights,” she added.
Perhaps she missed pro-life Democrat incumbent Dan Lipinski’s win in an Illinois primary against Planned Parenthood-backed progressive Marie Newman this past March. Pelosi backed Lipinski in the primary despite the national Democratic party and many of her progressive colleagues refusing to do so.
“What voters want to know is what do you stand for,” Richards said of the abortion issue, “and the Democratic party needs to stand for this.”
Pelosi and Lipinski seem to disagree. One of just three remaining pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives, Lipinski warned that “Democrats have chased people out of the party,” and they need to be more accepting of pro-life Democrats.
Richards concluded her profile of Pelosi with these words of praise: “She knows it’s more important to do what’s right than what’s popular, and never lets anything stand in the way of doing what she came to Congress to do: be a voice for the people who are counting on government to be there for them.”