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Time to Say That Dreaded Word "Abortion" Out Loud and a Lot

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Sitting by my television set watching the news and thumbing my Blackberry, I wrote this note to Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, on the morning after.

Cecile: Seems like from now on you're going to have to say I'm woman, and I'm proud. Proud to be a supporter, a leader and a fighter for the most important right the Supreme Court has guaranteed every American woman: the right to control her own body, and therefore, if need be, to obtain an abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Cecile: Your fight this morning after is about just one thing: keeping abortion safe and legal, not about whether "... Planned Parenthood can continue to provide Pap smears... " Please, please: Don't play us, the supporters you are dependent on, for fools. You can't win without us; we need you to be straight with us; we both know what time it is, and it's not the time you're saying.

Cecile: We both know that the fight we've been in for the $300 million isn't about Republican Congressmen being "... out of touch with the health care needs of American women... " We both know it is about access to legal abortion, frequently provided at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Cecile: Please, please forget what those Beltway-bound pollsters and lobbyists are telling you to the contrary: That you can win for Planned Parenthood and American women by obfuscating about what the real fight is; that you'll get to keep (the crumbs) they're feeding you, if you just don't even breathe that horrible word "abortion." You won't. Not in this political climate and this belt-tightening era.

Cecile: Fact is, those lobbyists and pollsters are wrong, wrong, and, oh, did I say, wrong: This fight you're in isn't some business-as-Washington-usual-when-times-are-tough budget skirmish; it is a war for keeps, and our enemy's keeps is outlawing abortion.

Mr. Pence knows that if he kills our $300 million for "reproductive health care," whenever; this year; next year; whenever, he kills Planned Parenthood, period. And that means Planned Parenthood won't be around to perform abortions. It's just that simple.

Cecile: Think about it, please: If the goal of these guys were really just to get rid of federally funded women's "reproductive health care," they could end federal funding, (in the hundreds and hundreds of millions), for community health clinics. But they're not. What does that tell you? What does that tell the rest of us?

Cecile: Wednesday night, I heard Rachel Maddow ask you about fighting for access to abortion.

In her introduction of you, Maddow noted the great pains the Democratic women U.S. Senators had earlier gone to, to make the point that 97% of Planned Parenthood's services are for reproductive health care, thereby, as Maddow pointed out, begging the question of the value of the reproductive health care service, abortion, provided the remaining 3% of your patients. What are they, those women? Chopped liver?

Maddow asked you, in the face of this weak-kneed strategy, whether abortion services are worth fighting for. You dodged her question. Twice. Lucky for you, Maddow likes you, so she didn't pester you. End of interview. End of an opportunity for you to say what really needed to be said: Rachel, yes, of course you're right, as the leader of Planned Parenthood, I will fight as hard as I can for the right of American women to obtain the reproductive healthcare services they need, including abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Cecile: We're all familiar with that Beltway thing. Keep smiling; keep wearing those pearls and that pretty scarf; keep whispering sweet nothings. But: you? But: you, in these times? But: you, on this morning after? But you, daughter of a mother we revere because she was never afraid to say what time it is? Fact is, as your mother proved, over and over and over again, sometimes you've just got to give it up and be the not-so-nice girl.

Cecile: Now is one of those times. Our enemy is fighting for keeps, and his keeps is outlawing abortion: This time of making you and us beg for crumbs is just a way station along his path.

Fight for us for the real deal, Cecile, and we will fight for you, even harder; remembering your mom, and what she taught us every step of this, so what, ever so difficult way.