DNC Dispatch – Day Two

As we anticipate the President’s speech yet tonight, here are the highlights I took away from all of yesterday’s excitement:

Rita and Sister Simone Campbell

Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (and daughter of the late, legendary Texas governor Ann Richards) gave an emotional speech.  We listened with tears in our eyes, as she had tears in hers: “President Obama understands women. He trusts women. And on every issue that matters to us, he has stood with women… We’ve come way too far to ever turn back. And we won’t.”

Elizabeth Warren, running for Senate in Massachusetts, also gave a rousing speech: “I believe in President Obama and his vision for the future. Not just for folks who call themselves Democrats — but for everyone who believes that when you work hard and play by the rules, you deserve a chance to succeed. For decades now, the dreams of millions of kids have moved further out of reach. Middle-class families have gotten hammered, while the rich and powerful have gotten richer and more powerful. This election truly is the fork in the road. It will decide who we are as a people and what kind of country we want to be.” Continue reading

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Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards

Planned Parenthood national CEO Cecile Richards came through Sarasota in early March, when I had the opportunity to meet with her and discuss the importance of reproductive rights.  Ms. Richards visited Sarasota in the aftermath of the Komen Foundation controversy, as the country’s leading breast cancer charity had threatened to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings at its health clinics.

After significant backlash, the Komen Foundation reversed course and announced that Planned Parenthood would still be eligible for its grants, maintaining Planned Parenthood’s ability to offer vital breast cancer screenings to low-income women.  The controversy, ignited in part by a right-wing Komen vice president, fell into a pattern of right-wing attacks on women’s reproductive health, including Rush Limbaugh’s infamous verbal assault on law student Sandra Fluke for using birth control.

Ms. Richards emphasized the importance of maintaining women’s reproductive freedoms as part of a broader commitment to personal freedoms and women’s equality, and noted that these issues are sure to be an important part of the upcoming campaign, particularly when the two parties have exhibited such clear differences in their policy approaches on this front.