President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards delivered her Democratic National Convention speech on Wednesday night.
Below, her remarks as prepared for delivery.
Good evening. On behalf of the millions of mothers, daughters, wives, sisters and friends - Republicans and Democrats - we've counted on Planned Parenthood for health care, and in honor of the thousands of doctors and staff at Planned Parenthood health centers all across America, I am proud tonight to support the re-election of President Barack Obama!
Two years ago, when John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Todd Akin and the Tea Party took control of the House of Representatives, they promised to create jobs and jump-start the economy. But, instead, on day one, they came after women's health. And they haven't let up since. They voted to end cancer screenings and well-woman visits for five million women, end funding for birth control at Planned Parenthood, and for good measure, they even tried to redefine rape. And now, Mitt Romney is campaigning to get rid of Planned Parenthood and overturn Roe v. Wade. This year women learned that if we aren't at the table, we're on the menu. So this November, women are organizing, mobilizing and voting for the leaders who fight for us.
Nearly 100 years ago, when Planned Parenthood was founded, birth control was illegal. And as a result, few women had the opportunity to finish school. We weren't even expected to live past the age 50. Times have changed. Today, we are mothers, and we are teachers and scientists and accountants and members of the armed forces. And because of President Obama, more women than ever are serving in the Cabinet and on the Supreme Court. We've come so far.
So why are we having to fight in 2012 against politicians who want to end access to birth control? It's like we woke up in a bad episode of Mad Men. Because when Mitt Romney says he'll "get rid of" Planned Parenthood, and turn the clock back on a century of progress, it has real consequences for the three million patients who depended on Planned Parenthood last year. Women like Libby Bruce, the patient you just heard from. Women like Brandi McCay, a 27 year-old whose stage two breast cancer was caught at a Planned Parenthood health center. She is now cancer-free. Or the woman who went on Facebook, after Paul Ryan voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and posted, "I guess they don't understand that us military wives go to Planned Parenthood when the doctor on base can't see us."
Romney and Ryan are campaigning for women's votes by saying, "Women need our help." This is coming from two men who are committed to ending insurance coverage for birth control. Who would turn women's health care decisions over to our bosses. And who won't even stand up for equal pay for women. As my grandmother back in Texas would have said about any more help from Mitt Romney, "I'm going to have to take in ironing."
The good news is, we already have a president who's on our side. President Obama understands women. He trusts women. And on every issue that matters to us, he stands with women. President Obama ensured women's preventive care - including birth control, too – will be covered by all health care plans, with no co-pay, no matter where we work. Because of President Obama, soon women won't be denied insurance because we've had breast cancer, or survived sexual assault. And we will no longer pay more than men for the same health insurance. Thanks to President Obama, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition! Back in Texas, we say that you dance with them what brung you. President Obama brought women to this dance and we're staying with him all the way through November!
Twenty-four years ago, my mother, former Texas Governor Ann Richards, spoke to this convention. She reminded us there was a time when folks had to drink from separate water fountains, when kids were punished for speaking Spanish in school, when women couldn't vote. Mom spent her entire life working to make things more fair. She believed the American dream wasn't meant for just a few; it promised opportunity for everyone. Just a couple of years before she passed, Mom had the chance to become friends with a young senator named Barack Obama. She saw in him the promise of the future, and the promise of America—the promise of an America that always moves forward. That's the America we believe in, and that's the future we'll be voting for this November. As women, we've come too far to turn back. And we won't. Mom wouldn't stand for it, and neither will we. So, this November, we're going to keep moving forward, and we are going to re-elect President Obama.
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