Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards is reportedly set to step down from her post as head of the largest abortion provider in the country.
Citing two sources familiar with the situation, BuzzFeed News reported Wednesday that Richards, who became president of the group in 2006, has told several members of Planned Parenthood’s board of directors that she plans to leave.
A spokesperson for the organization did not comment on Richards’ future plans, instead saying, “Cecile plans to discuss 2018 and the next steps for Planned Parenthood’s future at the upcoming board meeting,” which will take place next week.
Pro-life advocates immediately responded to the news by pointing out how Planned Parenthood seemed to focus mainly on abortion during Richards’ tenure.
“In her 10 years at Planned Parenthood, over 3.5 million babies killed,” said Lila Rose, president of the pro-life group Live Action.
In a follow-up post, Rose noted that people should “pray for her conversion & those who work with her.”
Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, also criticized Planned Parenthood’s abortion agenda.
“Under the leadership of Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood has grown to push one agenda — abortion above all else — while throwing aside any inkling of actual medical care. Cancer screenings and STD testing have all declined under her reign,” said Nance.
Conservative commentator Matt Walsh called Richards a “mass murderer” who is “drenched in the blood of millions.”
“See, when it comes to Cecile Richards stepping down, I’m completely pro-choice,” wrote Daily Wire Editor in Chief Ben Shapiro.
As the head of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as well as the group’s political arm — Planned Parenthood Action Fund — Richards has long fought against efforts to restrict abortion access or decrease federal funding for the group.
Richards’ reported departure comes at a time when GOP lawmakers and the Trump administration have taken steps to limit the amount of funding the group receives.
In March 2017, Vice President Mike Pence was called to the Senate to cast the tie-breaking vote on a bill that allows states to defund abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, according to The Hill.
Moreover, just last week, the administration’s Department of Health and Human Services overturned an Obama-era advisory warning states against cutting Medicaid funding to the abortion provider.
According to Planned Parenthood’s annual report released earlier this month, the group carried out 321,384 abortions over the past year — more than one-third of all the abortion procedures that took place in the United States
The organization’s total income was about $1.46 billion, while it made a profit of $98.5 million.
The organization’s motives were called into question in July 2015, after the first of a series of undercover videos was released by the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life group. The videos showed undercover activists pretending to negotiate with Planned Parenthood officials for the sale of fetal parts.
The activists argued that the videos showed Panned Parenthood was breaking the law by seeking to profit from the sale of fetal parts, but the abortion provider denied the allegations.
The release of the videos sparked an outcry from pro-life activists, who demanded that the group lose its taxpayer funding.
As The Western Journal reported, the Department of Justice took the first steps last month to launch a federal investigation into the group’s practices regarding the sale of fetal tissue.
President Donald Trump made defunding Planned Parenthood one of his campaign promises, and as president, he has emphasized the importance of defending the right to life.
“Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life,” Trump said Friday during his address to the March for Life, which was live-streamed from the White House.
Trump also encouraged the Senate to pass a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks. That bill was approved in the House last month.
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