Former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards: Oklahoma Abortion Ban Bill Is ‘Cruel and Inhumane’

( – Former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who now serves as co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century, said Friday that an Oklahoma law banning all abortion with exceptions for the life of the mother and in cases of rape or incest that have been reported to law enforcement is “cruel and inhumane.”

If the bill is signed into law as expected, “it would mean that Oklahoma would really become the first state that could completely ban abortion, safe and legal abortion since Roe was decided. It’s modeled on the Texas ban in effect since September that really allows local citizens to turn in their neighbors and anyone who has helped trying to assist a woman accessing abortion services,” she told MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

“It is incredibly cruel and inhumane and of course you probably know that many women in Texas, because they have not been able to get access to legal abortion since September, have been going to Oklahoma, and increasingly, you will now see huge areas of the country where there is no more access to safe and legal abortion,” Richards said.

“Of course it doesn’t mean abortion will end. It simply means it won’t be safe. It won’t be legal, and women will have to take things into their own hands, which is going to create a dangerous situation for women and their families,” she said.

Richards accused Republicans of banning abortion while at the same time refusing to provide health care coverage to new mothers.


“What we are seeing of course across the country is the states that are banning abortion are also refusing to do anything for the moms, the families that are impacted,” the former Planned Parenthood president said.

“In fact, Mississippi, which is the state that is up before the Supreme Court, has the highest rate of poverty in the nation, has twice the maternal mortality rate of the national average, and recently, the same legislators that passed this abortion ban in Mississippi refuse to expand health care coverage for new moms in that state,” she said.

“If you’re a new mother that delivers under Medicare, you get two months of health care and then you are on your own, and so I do think it’s important to point out that these same states that are trying to end access to safe and legal abortion are doing nothing and in fact voting against support for — to make sure that children are safe and healthy and that mothers are as well,” Richards said.

Pro-life attempts to ban abortion will be “a hugely motivating issue in upcoming elections,” Richards said.

“I think it’s a hugely motivating issue. Look at some of the states that are hotly contested: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia. These are states where the folks running on the Republican ticket are saying they’re going to outlaw abortion, so it’s getting real for everybody,” she said.


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