Government

'Do something,' former Planned Parenthood leader urges abortion rights supporters at Cedar Rapids appearance

CEDAR RAPIDS — Don’t wait for instructions.

“If there’s something you’re concerned about, do something about it,” former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said at a book signing in Cedar Rapids Friday.

And people are definitely worried, especially at the prospect of President Donald Trump’s nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Richards, who spoke at a private donor event before signing copies of her book, “Make Trouble.”

“It’s a very scary time,” she said, because there are so many issues to be concerned about that for some people it’s hard to know where to start.

So whether the issue is reproductive rights, education, health care or some other concern, “there isn’t any perfect way to solve everything, so I think it’s do more than you’re doing now and it will be better,” Richards said.

Richards wrote the book in response to supporters of abortion rights repeatedly asking her what they should do after Trump’s election.

“So I hope the book is little bit of a manual, a little bit of a how-to, a little bit of memoir and a little bit of a call to action,” she said.

It’s also about the “joy in activism,” Richards added. “I met my husband that way. My children are activists.”

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Asked about the Kavanaugh nomination, she encouraged people to call their senators as well as their House member.

“Regardless of how you think they will vote, they need to hear from us because that’s how we raise the issues of concern,” said Richards.

She believes concern for abortion rights will drive women to the polls in November “and that’s important, too.”

Outside, about two dozen people braved 90-degree temperatures to demonstrate their opposition to abortion and to Richards.

“She basically brought about a significant increase in the number of abortions,” said Jim Burke, a spokesman for the coalition of abortion opponents.

In addition to demonstration opposition to abortion “and the abortion industry,” Burke said the demonstrators were there to talk to anyone interested in the issue.

“A lot of people don’t care to talk,” he said. “We get a few waves and honks and few middle fingers.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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