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PPFA Announces Next President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America Announces Seasoned Leader and Advocate Cecile Richards Will Be Organization's Next President; Richards Has Track Record of Proven Leadership; Will Join PPFA in Mid-February
NEW YORK CITY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation's leading advocate and provider of reproductive health care, announced today the appointment of national leader Cecile Richards as its next president. Ms. Richards is one of the nation's most prominent activist leaders and will join Planned Parenthood in mid-February after more than 20 years at the helm of social justice movements.
"Planned Parenthood has recruited an experienced, proven leader who has the vision and skill to lead Planned Parenthood during a period of both opportunity and challenge," PPFA Chair Esperanza Garcia Walters said.
"It is a great honor to assume the leadership of an organization that stands for the very freedoms embraced by the majority of Americans; the ability to decide when and whether to have children; and the importance of privacy, safety and access to health care," Ms. Richards said. "I look forward to working with Planned Parenthood affiliates, staff and partners to realize the dream of access to reproductive health care for all."
Ms. Richards has a long history of work in the reproductive rights community. She created and directed the Turner Foundation's national pro-choice project and has served on the boards of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Ms. Richards also served as deputy chief of staff to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, founded the Texas Freedom Network to counter the influence of the radical right wing, and worked on the campaign of her mother, former Texas Governor Ann Richards.
The announcement that Ms. Richards will head the organization received praise from PPFA Interim President Karen Pearl, who said, "Planned Parenthood has chosen a dynamic leader who will be an important voice in advocating for reproductive freedoms around the world."
Founded in 1916 by Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood is the world's largest and most trusted voluntary reproductive health care organization, with highly respected domestic and international programs. The federation has an advocacy presence in every state, and its affiliates manage more than 850 health centers across the nation, providing reproductive health care and sexuality education for nearly five million women, men and teens every year.
In addition to serving as a trusted provider of health care information and services, PPFA has an aggressive public policy agenda and a nationwide network of grassroots activists, and works in the courts to protect and advance reproductive rights. Recent successes of Planned Parenthood's prevention agenda include leading the effort to require health insurance plans to cover contraceptives; educating women and health care providers about emergency contraception; and working with drugstore chains and pharmacies to ensure that women get their birth control prescriptions filled without delay. In November 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court heard Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, in which the court is expected to rule on whether abortion laws must include protections for women's health.
Ms. Richards is a native Texan. She and her husband Kirk Adams have three teenagers. She will leave her post as president of America Votes next month to assume this new role. Beth Ganz, executive director of America Votes, will run the organization as it searches for a new president. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, will become interim board chair and lead the America Votes search committee.