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09 October, 2018

If Cecile Richards ’80 had wanted to take some time off after 12 enormously eventful years at the helm of Planned Parenthood, people probably would have understood. It can’t have been easy to have walked in her shoes, they’d likely think, to be at the center of one political storm after another, and be simultaneously revered as an intrepid champion of women and reproductive rights and vilified as a crusader for safe and legal abortion. And if Richards, 61, were simply exhausted at this fraught moment in time, when access to women’s reproductive health care is in peril, when the U.S. Supreme Court may soon reconsider the 45-year-old Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, and when the exhilarating hope of an ally in the White House—the first woman president to boot—has given way to official antagonism toward the 101-year-old organization, her allies could surely relate. Plenty of them must be feeling that way too. Yet to hear Richards tell it, she’s not feeling beaten down, but pumped up. As she travels the country to promote her new book, Make Trouble—a deeply detailed memoir that’s also a how-to guide for coping, carrying on, and creating change—she tells routinely packed houses of mostly women that we’re living in a golden age, something akin to her own childhood in Texas, where her progressive parents and their tight community of fellow activists taught her not to shy away from fighting the powers-that-be. “I think we are in the total heyday of activism right now, unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” she told one such crowd in Nashville this spring. Continue reading her story on our all-new website: 📝: Stephanie Grace '87 📸: Douglas Adesko
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