Playing to a nearly full lecture room in Huntsman Hall, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards addressed millennial voters in another attempt by the Clinton campaign to reach out to the youth at the University.
In an event organized by Penn for Hillary, Richards minced no words when discussing the implications of the Nov. 8 election.
“I’m doing everything I can to make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next President,” Richards said in her opening remarks, earning a round of applause by students in attendance.
In what amounted to a town hall format, Richards did not hesitate to take questions from students. When one student asked her to address outreach to supporters of Clinton’s primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Richards stressed that, in her view, there were only two real choices for the presidency, and only one that made sense.
“Millennials are the most progressive generation ever, in the history of the United States,” said Richards. “Millennials are going to choose the next president of the United States.” In another nod to the values of the current Penn generation, Richards pointed out that teen pregnancy was at its lowest rate in over 30 years. And while she was quick to claim success for Planned Parenthood in this area, she was more than willing to cede to the notion that millennials and their values played a role in this decrease.
Richards used her own personal experience to reach the Clinton supporters at the gathering. At one point, when speaking to a fellow Texan, she took a moment to mention the University of Texas’ win over the University of Notre Dame this weekend in an overtime thriller. Her answers were full of personal stories, including a moment where she relayed how a woman had come to her office for breast cancer screening because President Barack Obama mentioned the service in his second presidential debate with Mitt Romney in 2012.
“Anyone who pays for birth control knows it’s an economic issue,” Richards said, when asked a question about the accessibility of contraceptives on campus. She also championed the role that Clinton, along with Planned Parenthood, played in making sure that the Affordable Care Act contained provisions to allow access to emergency contraceptives.
In an interview after the event, Richards mused on the worry that voters may grow complacent before Election Day, a similar view held by Clinton when she visited Philadelphia on Aug. 16.
“Well, we certainly can’t be complacent, and I think that Secretary Clinton is going to fight hard, not only for every vote, but for every American, regardless of political affiliation. She is the most tireless, not only campaigner, but public servant that I’ve ever been around, and so I think she is going to take [the election] seriously.”
This event is one of several planned by the Clinton campaign in Philadelphia. On Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will campaign not only for Secretary Clinton, but also for U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty. This will be followed by a visit from Obama to the city on Sept. 13.
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