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Cecile Richards (born July 15, 1957)[1] is an American pro-choice activist who served as the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund from 2006 to 2018. In 2010, Richards was elected to the Ford Foundation board of trustees. In spring 2019, Richards co-founded Supermajority, a women's political action group.

Cecile Richards
Cecile Richards (crop).jpg
President of Planned Parenthood
In office
February 2006 – April 2018
Preceded byGloria Feldt
Succeeded byLeana Wen
Personal details
Born (1957-07-15) July 15, 1957 (age 61)
Waco, Texas, U.S.
Spouse(s)Kirk Adams
RelativesAnn Richards (Mother)
EducationBrown University (BA)


Early life, education and political activismEdit

Richards was born in Waco, Texas, and is the daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards (née Willis), an American politician and activist. Her father, David Richards,[2] practiced law and had built a practice dealing with civil-rights plaintiffs, newspapers and labor unions. She also won several landmark cases, including a voting-rights lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court.[3] She initially went to public school; but, in ninth grade, she was disciplined for protesting the Vietnam War after she wore a black armband. She then attended the progressive St. Stephen's Episcopal School for the remainder of high school.[3]

Richards' parents were immersed in political activism from her early years on. At the age of 16, she helped her mother campaign for Sarah Weddington, the attorney who won Roe v. Wade, in her bid for the Texas state legislature.[4]

Richards graduated with a bachelor's degree in History from Brown University (1980).[5] After graduation, she became a labor organizer for service workers across several states, running union campaigns for garment workers, nursing home workers, and janitors.[3] When she was 30 she moved back to Texas to help with her mother, Ann Richards', campaign for Governor.[6] She is currently on the board of the Ford Foundation, a global private foundation with the mission of advancing human welfare.[7] She was one of the founders of America Votes, a 501(c)4 organization that aims to coordinate and promote progressive issues, and is currently serving as president.[6] Richards founded and previously served as president of America Votes, a coalition of national Democratic Party-affiliated organizations.[8] Before that, she was deputy chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.[9] She has also worked at the Turner Foundation.[10] In 1996, she founded the Texas Freedom Network, a Texas organization formed to counter the Christian right.[11] She also serves on the Board of Advisors of Let America Vote, an organization founded by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander that aims to end voter suppression.[12]

Richards stepped down as president of Planned Parenthood in 2018[13][14] and was succeeded by Leana Wen.[15] In April 2019, Richards co-founded a new political action group, Supermajority, to educate and train women to further women's political agenda for the 2020 elections.[16][17]


She contributed the piece "Combating the Religious Right" to the 2003 anthology Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium, edited by Robin Morgan.[18]

In 2018 Richards published her memoir "Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, And Finding The Courage To Lead." The memoir discusses her upbringing and career.[19][20]

Personal lifeEdit

Richards speaking at an event for Hillary Clinton, October 2016

Richards is married to Kirk Adams, a labor organizer with the Service Employees International Union, and has three children.[7][21] Their eldest, Lily Adams, served as press secretary for Tim Kaine and later as an advisor of communications for Hillary Clinton's Democratic presidential campaign. Richards and her husband live in New York City.[22]

Awards and honorsEdit


  1. ^ "Cecile Richards | Biography & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  2. ^ Johnson, Darragh (March 25, 2006). "Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood's Choice Leader". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  3. ^ a b c "Daughters of Texas". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
  4. ^ Parks, Scott (January 19, 2013). "For Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who won Roe vs. Wade, celebrity — or notoriety — came early". The Dallas News. The Dallas Morning News, Inc. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  5. ^ "Nelson Mandela To Receive Honorary Degree in Absentia, One of Eight Candidates" (Press release). Brown University. April 27, 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  6. ^ a b Galanes, Philip (2016-06-18). "Cecile Richards, Barbara Bush and the Sisterhood of Political Progeny". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
  7. ^ a b "Cecile Richards :: Planned Parenthood". Retrieved 2016-08-15.
  8. ^ Farhi, Paul (March 24, 2004). "Democratic Spending Is Team Effort". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  9. ^ "Groups collecting contributions in hopes of defeating Bush". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Associated Press. August 17, 2003. p. 11A.
  10. ^ Herman, Ken (April 7, 2001). "Tax-cut ad campaign players: throwback to '94 governor race". The Austin American-Statesman.
  11. ^ Green, John (2000). Prayers in the Precincts. Washington: Georgetown University Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-87840-775-8.
  12. ^ "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Mangan, Dan (January 24, 2018). "Planned Parenthood chief Cecile Richards will step down from abortion rights, contraception group". CNBC. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Minutaglio, Rose (2019-04-29). "Cecile Richards Is Leading a New Political Action Group with Alicia Garza and Ai-jen Poo". Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  17. ^ Democracy Now! (2019-05-09), Cecile Richards launches new political organization ahead of 2020 election, retrieved 2019-05-10
  18. ^ "Library Resource Finder: Table of Contents for: Sisterhood is forever : the women's anth". Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  19. ^ Make Trouble. 2018-04-03. ISBN 9781501187599.
  20. ^ Trombetta, Sadie. "Cecile Richard's Story About Interviewing For Her Job At Planned Parenthood Is SO Relatable". Bustle. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  21. ^ Richards, Cecile (October 6, 2014). "Ending the Silence That Fuels Abortion Stigma". Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  22. ^ Martinez, Gebe (May 7, 2006). "Texans in Washington". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers Partnership, L.P. Archived from the original on September 25, 2008. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  23. ^ Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship Archived 2010-07-10 at the Wayback Machine, official website.
  24. ^ Fluke, Sandra (2012-04-18). "Time Magazine: 100 Most Influential People in the World: Cecile Richards". Retrieved 2013-04-24.

External linksEdit