Exclusive - Cecile Richards Extended Interview

January 12, 2017 - Cecile Richards 01/12/2017 Views: 61,458

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, explains which health services are reimbursed by the government and discusses Paul Ryan's vow to defund the organization. (8:46)

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Please welcome Cecile Richards.

-♪ -(cheering and applause)

-Welcome to the show.-Good to be here.

Uh, you have a lot of fansin the audience.

-A lot of, uh...-(cheering and applause)

-Thanks.-Uh, and I feel like...

I feel like you need fansin the...

-in these...-We'll take everyone we can get.

Yeah, in-in these tar...uh, dark times.

Let's get straight into it.I mean,

it feels like you cannot turnon the news these days,

-uh, especially afterthe Trump, uh, victory -Mm-hmm.

without seeing another storyabout how Paul Ryan

and the Republicans are planningto defund Planned Parenthood.

In fact,I hear that phrase so much,

it soundslike "Defund Planned Parenthood"

is the new nameof the organization.

-Not a bit. -Like, "Welcometo Defund Planned Parenthood."

-Yeah. No. -That's-that'swhat... Are you tired?

No, no, no, not a bit.In fact, I'm energized.

I... It has beenan outpouring of support

for Planned Parenthoodever since Paul Ryan said that.

In fact, I thinkyou can't even get a phone call

into Speaker Ryan's officeanymore, uh,

because of so many folkscalling, concerned.

Um, and we saw, actually,after the election,

at Planned Parenthood,a flood of women calling.

We had a 900% increase in women,

in the first couple of days,trying to get appointments

-to get an IUD,because they were worried -Wow.

about losing their accessto health care.

You-you see this on the ground.

And Planned Parenthoodis providing vital services.

Um, but, at the same time,

it has becomea contentious issue in America.

How do you...how do you balance that world,

between going,"We're a health care provider,"

whilst, at the same time,some people going,

"Yeah, but you're doingwhat we don't want you to do

for some people."

Actually, Planned Parenthoodis more popular

than the entire United StatesCongress, and, so...

(applause and cheering)

So... and...

And I will say, I think if therewere more members of Congress

who could get pregnant,we wouldn't

be arguing about birth control,uh...

-(applause and cheering)-And so...

I mean, the truth, Trevor, is

that one in five womenin this country have been

to Planned Parenthoodfor healthcare.

We see about two-and-a-halfmillion patients a year.

And what we've been hearing eversince Speaker Ryan said that

-is women and men coming outin droves... -Yeah.

...wanting to supportthe organization,

talk about the care thatthey got at Planned Parenthood.

We're gonna have thousandsof folks, I think,

come to Washington.

In fact, there are so manypeople that wanted to come

and wear a pinkPlanned Parenthood hat,

literally, the factory ran outof pink yarn

that makes the pinkPlanned Parenthood hats.

-Wow.-So, we're seeing

really record amount of supportin the country.

I guess you need that support

because now we're in a position

where we're witnessingthe Republicans

with the majority they needto defund Planned Parenthood.

Um, what's interestingabout the conversations

in and around this is

that Planned Parenthood providesso many more services

than just abortions.

Is this somethingthat doesn't get through,

or is there a wayto create a bit of separation,

or is it a conversation

that cannot reallybe negotiated?

Well, we're really proudat Planned Parenthood

to provide women all of theirreproductive healthcare,

and we always will.

I think thatwhat's really important

to understand is,under the last...

-During the last eight years,with President Obama... -Yeah.

...who was a huge supporterof women's health, uh,

and health care access,and we actually got

birth control coveredfor 55 million women

in this country at no co-pay,including probably

-some folks here in thisaudience. Um... -(cheering)

I actually... you knowit's interesting,

we're at a 30-year low forunintended pregnancy in America,

we're at a historic low forteenage pregnancy in America,

and that's largelybecause women have better access

to family planning.

I would say the American peoplethink that Planned Parenthood

is actually the solution,not the problem.

-(audience whooping) -Uh, andso... Yeah, thank you for that.

-Uh... but...-(laughter)

so I really do think that it isa matter of folks in Washington

understanding thatwomen's need for health care,

it's not a partisan issue.

And that's what I think womenare so perplexed about,

is why are peopleplaying politics

with women's health carein America?

And, uh, the women who cometo Planned Parenthood,

they're Republicans,they're Democrats,

they're Independents,because...

they're not coming to makea political statement,

they're comingbecause they need high-quality,

affordable health careand that's what we provide.

Let me... let me playdevil's advocate

-for a little bit, then.-(cheering, applause)

Um...

you know, some of the argumentsyou hear people making are,

why should the governmenthave to pay...

for a service that many peoplein America don't agree with?

Or why should there beany funding from government

that goes to an organization

that provides anythingthat they don't agree with?

-So could I answer?-Yeah, of course.

Uh, terrific. So, at first it'sreally important to understand

that Planned Parenthood is not aline item in the federal budget.

Right? We just get reimbursed,

like every otherhealth care provider

for providing, uh,family planning services,

cancer screenings,Well-Woman visits,

STI testing and treatment.

And, in fact, federal funding,as you probably know,

-Yes. -does not payfor abortion services.

I think that's wrong.That's a law

that's been in effectfor a long, long time.

But so when Paul Ryan says

we're going to defundPlanned Parenthood,

what it means is, actually, thatmillions of folks who come to us

for preventive carecan no longer come to us--

including thousands of women,actually,

in his home state of Wisconsin.

I actually think that

if you're concerned aboutpreventing unintended pregnancy,

and the need for abortionin this country,

you should triple the fundingfor Planned Parenthood,

-because that's the work...-(cheering and applause)

that's the work we do.

That's-that's the work we do,and look,

I'll give you another example.

I mean, I comefrom the state of Texas

where the politicians havereally run roughshod

over women's healthcare access.

And they-they shutdown dozensof women's healthcare centers.

We saw unintended pregnancyrates go up,

um, and we also saw a doubling

of the maternal mortality ratein Texas.

And particularly amonglow-income women

and women of color who had theleast access to healthcare.

Those are a lot of the womenthat we see

at Planned Parenthood.

And so this is an issueof access to healthcare,

of a, you know, a wide swathof healthcare.

And for many folks we're theironly healthcare provider.

And Paul Ryan is now sayingwe're gonna end that.

When-when-whenthe Republicans say

it's not aboutdenying women healthcare,

it's about getting the moneyto places

where we feelit would be better suited,

so they say it'll go tocommunity healthcare centers.

You know, that still meansthat there are many women

who won't have access to anyform of healthcare at all.

Absolutely.

In fact, the communityhealth centers have said

we can't see all these patients

that Planned Parenthood sees.

The Congressional Budget Officehas said

this is gonna cost the taxpayers$130 million at a minimum

if you end women's abilityto go to Planned Parenthood.

-Is that, it that just in thedefunding of... ? -Mm-hmm, yeah.

-'Cause it'll actually costmoney to... -Absolutely.

-to put it all together.-To try to replace it.

-Yes. -And then the otherthing which I think

is an important partof all this,

is it's not onlythat Congress is saying

they're going toend women's ability

to go to Planned Parenthood--and not just women,

we have a lot of men that cometo us and-and young people.

Last night,in the dead of night,

-when we're all asleep, the...-At 1:30 a.m., yup.

Exactly. The United StatesSenate starts ramming though

a repealof the Affordable Care Act,

which means 20 million peoplelose their health care coverage,

it means young people, uh,

that are 26 and-and younger

can no longer stay on their, uh,parent's health insurance plan.

It means people withpre-existing conditions,

uh, can't get, uh,health insurance anymore.

And Kirsten Gillibrand,the great senator

-from the state of New York,uh, w... -(scattered whoops)

Yeah, she's fabulous. I mean,she-she had the senate vote

last night on protecting women'shealth care access, uh,

and the Republican leadershipdefeated that as well.

So I think it's importantto understand it's not only that

they want to end accessto Planned Parenthood, they want

to end access to care for a lotof folks in this country.

Uh, and I believe it's goingto cause a health care crisis.

We saw that it did in Texas,we've seen this happen

in other states.And so I hope that every person

who is watching this, if you'vebeen a Planned Parent patient

or if you care aboutaccess to health care,

you need to call your memberof congress, call your senator,

and-and callthe Trump administration.

(cheering, applause)

I, uh, appreciate your time.I thank you for being here,

and so do many peoplein the audience.

-Thank you so much for coming.-Hey, thanks for having me.

-I really appreciate it.-Cecile Richards, everybody.