Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, noticeably avoided the word "abortion" in her speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, but she wasted no time mentioning Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.).
"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," Richards said. "But instead, on day one, they came after women's health, and they haven't let up since."
Richards reminded voters that Akin, who infamously said in a recent interview that "legitimate rape" victims rarely get pregnant because the female body "has ways to shut that whole thing down," joined vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and other House Republicans in their legislative attempt to redefine rape. She defended her embattled organization, which Mitt Romney and his running mate have pledged to defund once they're in office, and criticized Romney for supporting a bill that would have allowed employers to deny women birth control coverage.
While Planned Parenthood has been the target of many political attacks over the fact that it both receives public funds and also provides abortions, Richards focused her speech on the other health care services Planned Parenthood offers. She pointed to the story of a woman named Libby Bruce, who explained just before Richards took the stage how Planned Parenthood helped her when she was suffering from endometriosis.
Defunding Planned Parenthood would have "real consequences for the three million patients who depended on Planned Parenthood last year," Richards said. "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.'"
Concluding her remarks, Richards invoked the memory of her feminist mother, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, who delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1988.
"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," the younger Richards said. "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."
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