Planned Parenthood supporters say #ThankYouCecile on president’s last day

After 12 years as president of Planned ParenthoodCecile Richards is officially stepping down today. Rightfully so, the internet is thanking her and celebrating her advocacy for access to reproductive healthcare.

The daughter of Democratic Texas Gov. Ann Richards, Cecile Richards has carved out her own legacy, tirelessly expanding and defending reproductive justice against the country’s toughest anti-abortion politicians and pundits. She advocated for Democratic Texas Sen. Wendy Davis during her anti-abortion legislation filibuster and campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Within her role as president, Richards has also expanded access to reproductive healthcare for transgender patients, worked with Congress to include copay-free birth control under Obamacare, and shut down patently false anti-abortion claims in front of a squad of angry congressmen.

Even in the last year of her tenure, Richards has defied several attempts from the federal government to withhold federal funds from Planned Parenthood—even the sneakiest of fruitless attempts made by so-called women’s advocate Ivanka Trump. (Planned Parenthood did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment regarding Richards’ last day.)

Using the hashtag #ThankYouCeclie, women and men are paying tribute to the soon-to-be-former Planned Parenthood president. From Call Your Girlfriend podcast host Aminatou Sow, to Teen Vogue digital editorial director Phillip Picardi, admirers of Richards’ and supporters of the healthcare organization are sharing anecdotes for how her leadership, and the organization she presided over, helped them in their careers and lives.

“Today is [Cecile Richards’] last day at Planned Parenthood. There is no overstating how much good Cecile has done for American women, and what a force she’s been for a new generation of activists,” writer Jessica Valenti tweeted.

Several people shared stories of how Richards reached out to them personally in times of turmoil, letting them know that she was with them.

“A few years ago, when I was dealing with some vicious anti-abortion harassment, [Cecile Richards] called me, while she was busy traveling, to see how I was holding up and offer support and a listening ear. #ThankYouCecile for your generosity, kindness, and dedication,” Renee Bracey Sherman, a reproductive justice advocate, tweeted.

Richards’ daughter Lily Adams, the director of communications for the office of Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris, even tweeted a touching tribute to her mother with a photo of their family.

Social media accounts for Planned Parenthood and its current and former employees also shared well-wishes with Richards, as did the co-writer of her book Make Trouble, Lauren Peterson.

Even politicians joined the hashtag, sharing their admiration of Richards and her legacy.

“[Cecile Richards] has been an incredible champion in the fight for women’s health and an exemplary leader of Planned Parenthood. I appreciate her commitment to quality, affordable health care in the face of relentless attacks,” Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein tweeted. “#ThankYouCecile I can’t wait to see what you do next!”

“Cecile departs Planned Parenthood with more members, supporters, donors, and activists than ever before. Her devotion to reproductive health and rights is far from over, and she’ll continue to be a voice and advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world,” the healthcare organization wrote in a blog post regarding Richards’ departure. “From the bottom of our hearts, we thank Cecile for her incredible leadership over the past 12 years. We can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.”

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.