In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards dismantles the notion that Ivanka Trump cannot be criticized for her role in her father's administration and its clear hostility to women's rights.
Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, says that Ivanka Trump cannot evade responsibility for Donald Trump's attacks on women's rights, since she is now a part of his administration.
Since occupying the presidency, Trump has at every turn chosen to erode and attack women's rights, including working to gut access to family planning and cut women's health care coverage. He even appointed an aide with a record of anti-feminist perspectives to work with Ivanka on women's issues.
While speaking at an event on women's empowerment, Trump managed to talk down to the women in attendance, assuming they shared his ignorance of Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman.
Unfortunately, none of this is surprising coming from a man who bragged about sexual assault, harassed female pageant contestants — including teen girls — and appears to enjoy publicly humiliating women.
Speaking to Cosmopolitan magazine, Richards was asked if there are any signs indicating that Ivanka is an ally to women's rights. She responded:
She now works for the federal government. She’s one of the highest-ranking women in the White House. Her portfolio is women’s issues — or, it includes all women’s issues. So this is her job. And for the first three months of this administration, women have seen an unrelenting attack on every fundamental right that we’ve achieved, and particularly that we’ve achieved over the last eight years in getting equity and health-care access. So, yes, it’s a responsibility of everyone in this White House. And words don’t matter. What women want to see is what’s the action.
Richards added, "This woman has a lot of responsibility now, and she has a responsibility of women all around this country — you can’t talk about childcare or entrepreneurism and take women off of health-care benefits, deny their access to Planned Parenthood, deny their access to maternity benefits, charge them more for health insurance coverage."
Appearing in Germany earlier in the week, Ivanka was booed when she described her father as a "tremendous champion of supporting families," and the interviewer from Cosmopolitan noted that some have said this was unfair because she was speaking on behalf of her father. In response, Richards was clear: "Her being his daughter is actually now irrelevant. She actually works for the federal government. She's now an employee for all of us. She chose that role. So now, if she's not comfortable standing up for what she believes in for women, then she perhaps needs to think about that."
Ivanka has chosen a strange role for herself in her father's administration. In addition to the issues of corruption and cronyism, she has positioned herself as an advocate of women's rights within an administration continuously waging war on those rights.
And progressive advocates like Richard have put the entire administration on notice that women will not be silent.