President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
Cecile Richards is president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Over the course of her career, she has become a nationally recognized progressive leader and a fierce advocate for reproductive health and rights. Since coming to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in February 2006, Cecile has led the organization to many notable achievements, including its success in targeting November 2006 electoral races in the heartland of America, leading to pro-choice wins in significant gubernatorial races.
In the 2008 elections, Cecile Richards led the Action Fund in a tremendous effort, targeting and persuading more voters than any other political entity working on behalf of pro-choice candidates. By Election Day, Planned Parenthood Action Fund activists knocked on more than 120,000 doors, made 1.25 million phone calls, and deployed thousands of trained volunteers across the country. The results: a pro-choice president, Barack Obama, seven new pro-choice members of the U.S. Senate, 26 new pro-choice members of the U.S. House, and two new pro-choice governors, for a total of 23. And the Action Fund helped beat back three dangerous ballot initiatives: an abortion ban in South Dakota, a parental notification initiative in California, and an amendment to grant legal rights to a fertilized egg in Colorado.
In the 2010 midterms, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund is once again working all out to show that women’s health matters and that women are the critical swing voters in key races everywhere.
As president of the Action Fund, Cecile Richards oversees its engagement in educational and electoral activity, including legislative advocacy, voter education, and grassroots organizing. She also oversees the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Political Action Committee (Planned Parenthood Federal PAC), a nonpartisan political action committee committed to supporting pro-choice, pro-family planning candidates for federal office.
Before joining Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards served as deputy chief of staff for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and played a key role in her election as the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.
Cecile has a long history of organizing in support of reproductive freedom and social justice. In 2004, she founded and served as president of America Votes, a coalition of 42 national membership-based organizations that works to maximize voter registration, education, and mobilization efforts at the grassroots level.
She created and directed a national pro-choice project for the Turner Foundation, working closely with Planned Parenthood affiliates and national staff. She also formed and served as president of Pro-Choice Vote, a committee active in the 2000 election cycle.
Ms. Richards began her career organizing low-wage workers in the hotel, health care, and janitorial industries throughout California, Louisiana, and Texas. The daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Ms. Richards was raised in a family committed to social justice and public service. She worked side by side with her mother on her very first campaign — the successful election to the state legislature of Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who successfully argued the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.
Cecile Richards and her husband, Kirk Adams, have three children. They currently reside in New York City.