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How Cecile Richards Strengthened the Pro-Life Movement

Outgoing Planned Parenthood president leaves legacy on both side of the abortion debate.
How Cecile Richards Strengthened the Pro-Life Movement
Image: Zach Gibson / Getty Images

After leading Planned Parenthood for over a decade, Cecile Richards has built a legacy as one of the organization’s most effective leaders, rallying millions of new supporters to the issue of “reproductive rights.”

In doing so, she also intensified the pro-life cause among those who oppose her organization—and the broader pro-choice movement—for providing and endorsing abortion.

As evangelical sociologist (and CT board member) Michael Lindsay once wrote in 2008, “Political movements like the Religious Right don't need a ‘god’ to succeed, but they do need a devil. Nothing builds allegiances among a coalition like a common enemy.”

Richards has proven divisive; a line in a New York Times article about her retirement states that, “Depending on whom you ask, the elegant 60-year-old is a national ‘hero’ or a ‘deeply evil woman’ and ‘mass murderer.’”

The announcement of her retirement came days ...

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