Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards’ resignation prompted celebration from pro-life leaders across the country and speculation about the direction a new leader might take the nation’s largest abortion provider. While some pro-lifers suggested the organization could refocus its efforts on supporting women, rather than killing their babies, most hold out little hope for radical change.
The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which exposed the abortion giant’s ties with the fetal tissue trade in an undercover sting operation in 2015, called Richards “the most devoted practitioner of Planned Parenthood’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mantra to cover up their barbaric abortion business from the public.” CMP suggested Richards’ resignation proved that strategy’s failings, especially as the FBI investigates whether Planned Parenthood violated federal law by providing body parts from aborted babies to tissue traders who sold them to researchers at inflated prices.
With her sudden resignation and the FBI knocking at the door, CMP founder David Daleiden speculated Richards might be attempting to preserve her own options by jumping from a sinking ship. Alternately, he wondered whether the abortion business has seen the writing on the wall and is moving to “shed themselves of some of the most culpable individuals.”
Either way, Daleiden has little hope her departure signals positive change. He insisted that while Richards served as the face of the organization, “abortion doctors are really the power behind the throne at Planned Parenthood.”
He told me “it will be interesting to see if they replace her with someone of that same kind of mold who will continue that kind of Cecile Richards public relations strategy, or if they’re going to really double down and finally let the most radical of the abortion doctor captains finally steer the ship. I think that’s the direction they might go in, because that’s where a lot of their rhetoric [is] leading them right now.”
Despite the general air of skepticism, many pro-life activists still hope for change. Live Action founder Lila Rose urged her Twitter followers to pray for Richards’ conversion. Others honed in on the decrease in healthcare provided by Planned Parenthood under Richard’s leadership—calling for the organization to turn over a new leaf.
“Under the leadership of Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood has grown to push one agenda—abortion above all else—while throwing aside any inkling of actual medical care,” said Concerned Women for America president and CEO Penny Nance. “If Planned Parenthood is serious about standing up for the women they claim to represent, they will hire someone who understands medicine and understands the facts that abortion does not help women but only inflicts harm and destruction.”
Abby Johnson, who worked as a Planned Parenthood facility director before founding the pro-life organization And Then There Were None, lamented that Richards “leaves a trail of misery in her wake” and called Planned Parenthood “an organization that has eschewed healthcare in favor of building a political movement by serving 670,540 less patients since 2006.”
Americans United for Life president and CEO Catherine Glenn Foster took a similar tone: “It seems that America’s abortion giant, under Ms. Richards’ leadership, cares less about providing vital healthcare to women in need and more about lining their pockets.”
Planned Parenthood has performed millions of abortions since Richards began her tenure as president in 2006. She boosted the organization’s image, power, fundraising, and organizing capabilities but faced constant opposition from pro-life state lawmakers across the country. Support for abortion also declined during Richards’ tenure, with pro-lifers slowly winning the argument, especially among young people, for the need to protect unborn babies.