Cecile Richards, daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, is stepping down as head of the national Planned Parenthood. She has always stood out in politics and in the struggle against the religious right. I visited quite a while with her mother and heard her speak at a National Democratic Party Convention.
While Cecile Richards is sometimes a pragmatist, she is more bare knuckled that either President Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton. The latter talked about abortion as something to be rare but available. Richards simply says abortion must be available and leaves it at that. There is speculation she is preparing to run for some public office.
Can someone known mostly for being an advocate for abortion rights be elected to any high office? Can someone who paid a porn star not to talk become President of the United States? The latter we know, yes. The former we may find out.
What is different about Cecile Richards is that she is experienced with the religious right and its tactics of smear. She knows its weak points and goes after them. When Obama was elected President he had the mistaken notion he could compromise and work with the religious right because he was religious. Soon he learned many white religious people scoffed as his Christianity and he scored no points by talking up his faith.
This seems to be the moment for women who have been in the public eye to step forward. I hope Richards is one of them.