WOMEN
09/30/2015 01:43 pm ET

9 Times Cecile Richards Threw Down For Reproductive Rights

To the Planned Parenthood president, we say: "Preach!"

This week, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards squared off against the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. She defended the women's healthcare provider against charges that it profits from fetal tissue donations, and argued that defunding the organization would greatly restrict women's access to care in this country.

In honor of Richards' display of total boss-ness, we present these nine moments the Planned Parenthood leader has thrown down for reproductive rights.

1. When she shut down Rep. Jason Chaffetz at Tuesday's Congressional hearing for relying on shoddy sources:

At one point during the five-plus hour hearing, Rep. Jason Chaffetz showed a chart claiming abortions at Planned Parenthood were up dramatically, and breast exams were down -- a chart that was totally misleading and "dishonest." As Vox points out, the overall number of non-abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood has barely changed in recent years -- from 10.29 million in 2006 to 10.26 million in 2013. 

"You created this slide. I have no idea what it is," Richards said, to which Chaffetz answered that the numbers came "directly out of your corporate reports."

"Excuse me," Richards said, a moment later. "My lawyers have informed me that the source of this is Americans United for Life which is an anti-abortion group so I would check your source." 

2. When she got real about why so many women have turned to Planned Parenthood at some point in their lives:

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And women aren't just going for abortions, though providing safe, legal abortion care is absolutely a part of what the organization offers women in the United States. Planned Parenthood estimates that in 2013 to 2014, its affiliates provided 865,721 Pap tests and breast exams; conducted 704,079 tests for HIV; and provided 1,440,495 emergency contraception kits

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Richards has worked to lessen the stigma that surrounds abortion by joining the ranks of women who are increasingly discussing their experiences with friends, family and on social media

"It was the right decision for me and my husband, and it wasn't a difficult decision," Richards said of her own abortion. "[But] before becoming president of Planned Parenthood eight years ago, I hadn't really talked about it beyond family and close friends."

4. When she spoke out about the absolute necessity of appropriate sex ed:

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Studies have shown that teens who receive comprehensive sex education are 50 percent less likely to experience a pregnancy than those who receive an abstinence-only curriculum.

5. When she wrote a kicka** op-ed calling out "extremist videos" aimed at taking Planned Parenthood down:

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"These extremists created a fake business, made apparently misleading corporate filings and then used false government identifications to gain access to Planned Parenthood’s medical and research staff with the agenda of secretly filming without consent," Richards also wrote, "then heavily edited the footage to make false and absurd assertions about our standards and services."

6. When she blasted the persistent myth that legal abortions are dangerous:

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Nowadays, more than 99.75 percent of abortions do not cause major medical problems -- making it as risky as a routine colonoscopy, from a statistical perspective.

7. When she broke down the basics of what it means to really, truly provide comprehensive care to women:

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Research has repeatedly shown that providing women with comprehensive health care -- and access to free, effective birth control options -- dramatically lowers the rate of both teen births and abortions.

8. When she called out Congress for not being transparent about the real purpose of the recent hearing: 

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The hearing was supposed to be about how the nonprofit uses the more than $500 million in federal funds it receives annually. But as The New York Times put it, "while the funding fight is ostensibly about abortion and fetal tissue, the subtext is politics."

9. When she chastised politicians for forgetting what's actually at stake for women when they threaten Planned Parenthood:

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No wonder Americans say they like Planned Parenthood more than they like politicians.

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