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Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

“In advance of our Independence Day celebrations, it’s important to recognize one of the most profound and transformative pieces of legislation in our history — the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today serves as an important reminder of the struggles and efforts that made this achievement possible. Fifty years ago, when signing this act into law, our country committed itself to outlawing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Great civil right leaders and activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer helped pave the way for change, and alongside them were thousands of citizens fighting to create a movement and rally their government to take action. Our nation’s elected officials, many of them fully supporting the ideals of the Civil Rights Act, passed one of the most meaningful pieces of legislation in our nation’s history. While we take today to reflect, we must also use this moment to reenergize the goals of many organizations that work together toward equality and to defend the rights of all Americans.

“No person in our country should face barriers in accessing health care, exercising their right to vote, marrying the person they love, or pursuing other fundamental rights. At Planned Parenthood, we’re proud to stand in line with our partners seeking equality and justice — from the North Carolina grassroots Moral Mondays protests and the honoring of our Congressional Black Caucus leaders to the elevation of the next generation of trailblazers through Planned Parenthood Generation, we will actively engage and support these and many other partners to help achieve the collective goal to end disparity wherever it lives. Planned Parenthood Generation is a movement of young people across identities and issues that advocates for their generation to change the world. Similar to the leaders of the 1960s, the next generation recognizes that racial justice, poverty, LGBTQ rights, and reproductive justice are all deeply connected. As history has proven from the pioneering 1964 Freedom Summer campaign, which kick-started the groundswell that led to the Civil Right Act, we must work together and strive to develop strong leaders with the spirit and determination of the previous generation if we are to continue to move our country forward and show that we are a nation committed to fighting for and preserving equality for all.

“Planned Parenthood is proud to honor the progress since the Civil Rights Act was passed, and more importantly, we are committed to continuing to fight to achieve true equality, hand in hand with our partners, and shaping the next generation of great leaders.”


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433


July 02, 2014