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Op-Ed
 

Cecile Richards: This is what it feels like


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By: Cecile Richards, President Planned Parenthood Federation of America

I've been wondering what it would feel like to know that the president of the United States supports women -- it's been a while -- and I must say, it feels amazing.

People around here are finally exhaling, after eight long years. Just think, the massive amount of time, energy, and resources that the Planned Parenthood community had to spend shielding women and teens from the harm caused by the Bush administration can now be directed to expanding women's access to the reproductive health information and services they urgently need.

Not only that, we also defeated anti-choice ballot initiatives by decisive margins in California, Colorado and South Dakota. Thank you so much for helping us protect women's reproductive rights this election -- your support and the hard work of people in those states made the difference.

If you're feeling as excited and hopeful as I am, then you probably need an outlet for your emotions. We've created a special sign to help you show how you feel. Download our sign and use it in your workplace or home. Click here.

You can also take your photo with it, and send it in to pponline@ppfa.org or post it to your social network profile or blog.

It's genuinely exciting to think about what we can achieve if we pull together. But we have to make a special commitment to one another. We have to pledge to seize our new opportunities with as much energy and tenacity as we've used to fend off the risks and challenges of the last eight years.

President-elect Obama said it so well last night, "This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were."

It's up to us to take up that challenge and urge Barack Obama to act on his deep commitment to women's health and reproductive freedom by reversing the global gag rule, restoring funding for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and acting quickly to overturn any dangerous last-minute anti-choice regulations that the lame-duck Bush administration may seek to put in place. We'll be asking for your help on these issues soon.

Today, we are determined to turn the new climate of hope and possibility into real change for the women Planned Parenthood serves...

Imagine -- being able to reach out to the generation of young women and teens that Bush administration policies have left without access to comprehensive sex education and affordable birth control.

Imagine -- reducing our tragically high rate of teen pregnancy and the disastrous spread of sexually transmitted infections, currently affecting at least one in four teenage girls in America.

Imagine -- being able to help patients overcome rising barriers as more and more women turn to Planned Parenthood for their health care needs.

Yes, there's hard work ahead to achieve our vision for a healthier America and a healthier world for women. But making that vision a reality is now, happily, ecstatically, within our grasp.

I want to extend my gratitude to you. You stepped up when women were besieged from all sides by anti-choice hardliners, and you saw those women and Planned Parenthood through every challenge. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of America

 

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