SAN ANTONIO – Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, spoke for the first time Friday at the annual fundraiser for clinics across South Texas.
“I’m proud to be a Texan. I’m proud to be back home,” Richards said.
Following her address in front of a large crowd of supporters at the Marriott Rivercenter, Richards sat down one-on-one with KSAT 12, the only TV station to interview Richards during her visit to the Alamo City.
She is the daughter of the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards, which has given a unique perspective to the woman whose mission has been under fire by current state leadership.
Last fall, Texas announced it would cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood after undercover videos surfaced discussing the sale of fetal tissue.
Planned Parenthood has said those videos were heavily edited.
“Women on Medicaid, families on Medicaid, they should be able to voluntarily choose the provider that gives them the best access to high quality care that's affordable for them,” Richards said. “That's what we do at Planned Parenthood."
Richards attended last month's Supreme Court hearing about HB 2, the Texas law that puts in place tougher requirements for abortion providers and that has shut down many clinics around the state.
"There was a lot sympathy in the Supreme Court for the plight that women in Texas are facing,” Richards said. “Some of them having to drive hundreds of miles to get access to health care.”
Friday's Planned Parenthood fundraiser was met by protesters who gathered along the street outside to take a stand against abortion.
"It's the killing of a human being created in the image of God. It's an injustice just like slavery was or the Nazi Holocaust. Planned Parenthood is a major part of that,” said Dr. Daryl Rodriguez, leader of Love of Truth Ministries in Spring Branch.
Richards acknowledged the protesters during Friday’s event and later encouraged critics to volunteer with Planned Parenthood.
“We probably do more to prevent unintended pregnancy every week at our San Antonio health center than any of those folks will do with picket signs and protest signs in their lifetime,” she said.