Podcast: Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards spoke with Suzanne Reisman about reproductive rights
by Suzanne Reisman

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that reproductive rights were not the number one issue for all women voters in the country. In fact, it seemed to not even be the number one issue for women of childbearing age or women who care about women of childbearing age. As someone obsessed with my right to self-autonomy, I wondered what was up. A quick investigation into the matter led me to conclude that many women didn't prioritize reproductive rights as an issue because they falsely assumed that both candidates supported the full spectrum of reproductive rights.

However, as the Reproductive Rights Law Profs report, when women learned that John McCain does not, in fact, support access to birth control or abortion, they changed their stance on supporting his candidacy. Translation: when people feel threatened, reproductive rights seems to become a priority issue for women.

To find out more about the role of reproductive rights in national, state, and local elections in 2008, I spoke to the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards. We discussed everything from John McCain's anti-choice voting record (out of 119 votes he cast on reproductive rights issues, 115 are construed as anti-choice by NARAL) to abortion rights as part of the Democratic party platform to critical issues in state elections, such as the California ballot initiative for parental notification and South Dakota's ballot initiative to ban abortion. Richards insight into the issues should not be missed.

Before our talk, I had no idea that extremists in South Dakota are again attempting to flout the interests of the public and ban abortions. I was also ignorant of the attempts of one billionaire to force all young women to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion. (According to the Guttmacher Institute, "most teens" already involve their parents if they seek to have an abortion, and notification laws can endanger young women.) Did you know that Colorado has a ballot initiative underway to ascribe "personhood" to all fertilized eggs? (According to the Feminist Daily News, "This "personhood initiative" declares that a fertilized egg is a "person" who enjoys "inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of the law." The measure would threaten not only abortion itself, but IUDs, emergency contraception, in vitro fertilization clinics, and stem cell research.")

Listen to the podcast, then take action. Across the country, women's self-autonomy is in danger.

Download the podcast by right clicking this link and selecting "save as": Cecile Richards from Planned Parenthood interview or use this audio player to listen to the interview:

Suzanne also blogs about life at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants She is currently seeking submissions for an anthology of essays on menstruation at Congratulations, You're a Woman Now!