Cecile Richards: “I Work Hard for My Salary” of $400,000

PP dollarsIn an interview published yesterday in the Oregon paper Williamette Week, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards was asked about her annual salary — nearly $400,000 — and why Planned Parenthood has shied away from publicly commenting on the widespread belief that such an amount is a bit extravagant for the head of a non-profit organization that receives over $360 million of your tax dollars annually.

Richards’ answer: “I work hard for my salary.”

She continued her dismissive response by proclaiming, “Planned Parenthood is the most cost-effective provider of family planning services in this country.”

The interviewer apparently didn’t ask any follow-up questions. That’s a pity, because it would have been interesting to see how Richards would have responded if she’d been asked how she squares her belief about PP’s unparalleled cost-effectiveness with the recent finding that increasing government funding of Planned Parenthood has had zero effect on the rate of unintended pregnancy nationwide.

And it would have been particularly interesting to see how Richards would have responded had she been asked how, as government funding of Planned Parenthood has increased, the unintended pregnancy rate has gone up most dramatically among poor women—the very demographic that Planned Parenthood claims to help the most.

Does Planned Parenthood Believe Only Doctors Should Do Abortions?

It’s well known that Planned Parenthood always and everywhere opposes laws that require pregnant mothers to view an ultrasound of their fetus/baby before having an abortion. Here’s how Richards responded to another interview question related to this topic:

Legislators, most of whom will never be pregnant, [are] writing their own ideas about what doctors should be telling their patients. It assumes doctors aren’t responsible, that they have to be led by the legislature to tell women what to think. Most legislation being passed contains erroneous information. It’s not even medically accurate. It assumes that women won’t have the wherewithal to actually talk to their doctor about keeping a pregnancy or whatever alternatives there are.

Note that in her response, Richards uses the word “doctor” three times. Clearly, she is falling back on the pro-choice boilerplate that abortion should be a matter between a woman and her doctor.

So if Cecile Richards, as head of Planned Parenthood, is so concerned that a doctor has a role to play in a woman’s decision to seek abortion care have an abortion, you would think that Planned Parenthood would be leading the charge to ensure that every woman who has an abortion is able to talk to a doctor beforehand, and that a doctor will be the one to actually perform the abortion. (Currently, 10 states and the District of Columbia allow non-physicians to perform abortions [PDF]. So much for the “between a woman and her doctor” rhetoric.)

But wait.

When the Arizona legislature passed a law in 2009 that women who wanted abortions had to have an in-person consultation with a doctor 24 hours beforehand, and another law this year that only doctors would be allowed to perform abortions, guess who screamed the loudest in protest:

None other than Planned Parenthood Arizona — which still accounts for an astonishing 89.6% of abortions performed in the state, even though it has since had to stop doing abortions at seven of its facilities.

So while Cecile Richards will employ the “woman and her doctor” rhetoric when it’s convenient to do so, it’s plain to see that when Planned Parenthood tries to blocks legislation that requires doctors to be directly involved in the abortion process, her words are disingenuous and deceptive, and she needs to be called on it.

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