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Cecile Richards: Leading Planned Parenthood was 'honor of my lifetime'

Cecile Richards: Leading Planned Parenthood was 'honor of my lifetime'
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Cecile Richards on Friday officially announced she would step down as president of Planned Parenthood and turn toward helping Democrats win seats in the 2018 midterm elections. 

“Leading Planned Parenthood over the last 12 years has been the honor of my lifetime," she said in a statement. "I will be leaving the organization well-positioned to serve and fight for our patients for a century more. Every day we see the incredible power that grassroots voices can have — there has never been a better moment to be an activist."

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Richards will meet with the organization's board on Friday and Saturday to discuss her official end date and the search to replace her, according to The New York Times. 

She told the newspaper she would pour herself into the midterm elections through fundraising and campaigning for Democrats, and advising the record number of women candidates. 

“As a lifetime organizer, I’ve never been more excited, despite this Congress and this presidency,” she said in the interview. “There’s this kind of organic activism by women.”

The move comes as Richards gears up to promote her memoir “Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead — My Life Story."

The book will be published in April, according to the Times. 

BuzzFeed News first reported on Wednesday that Richards was planning to step down from her post. 

Richards became leader of Planned Parenthood in 2006 and previously served as the deputy chief of staff for House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Houston will send residents checks of up to ,200 for pandemic relief MORE (Calif.).

Pelosi said Richards's leadership would be "deeply missed." 

"Her brilliant leadership of Planned Parenthood has advanced tremendous progress in the fight to expand access to quality, affordable health care for all and to uphold a woman’s right to control her own private health decisions," Pelosi said in a statement. 

"As an organizer, activist and leader, Cecile has helped launch a nationwide movement to defend and advance women’s rights, and in doing so, she has inspired countless women to march, vote, run and win. Her leadership will be deeply missed, but I am confident that Cecile will continue to be a warrior for all women as she begins the next chapter of her journey.”

Republicans and anti-abortion groups cheered the news of her departure, however, as they've ramped up efforts in recent years to strip the organization of federal funding. 

The Trump administration announced last week it would rescind Obama-era guidance that made it harder for states to defund Planned Parenthood. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE also signed a bill last year rolling back a rule issued in the Obama administration that prevented states from withholding federal family planning dollars from groups because they provide abortions. 

Republicans in Congress attempted to defund Planned Parenthood multiple times last year through ObamaCare repeal legislation but failed.