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Richards mother, Ann Richards, was the funny and firery 45th Governor of Texas. Richards rose to national prominence after her 1988 Democratic National Convention keynote address. The speech filleted the Reagan Administration and then-Vice President George H. W. Bush for its crony capitalism, exploding defense costs and attacks on the social safety net. It was funny and smart and exactly would later help define Richards legacy as a politician.
Like her mother, Cecile Richards had biting words for Republicans and their attacks on women’s health. And like her mother, who Cecile invoked in her own address, Richards made it clear that attacks against expanding access to health care were about much more than just an opposition to “big government.”
“She reminded us there was a time when folks had to drink from separate water fountains, when kids were punished for speaking Spanish in school, when women couldn’t vote,” the younger Richards said. “Just a couple of years before she passed, Mom had the chance to become friends with a young senator named Barack Obama. She saw in him the promise of the future, and the promise of America — the promise of an America that always moves forward.”
This promise of America that always moves forward, for women, is a promise that exists hand-in-hand with the protections guaranteed by Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade. That’s because those promises make progress for women possible. Women’s ability to control their reproduction means the ability to control, to a large degree, their professional destinies. Political legacies take generations to build–just as the Kennedys or the Bushs. And now, thanks to our grandmothers who fought for the vote and our mothers who fought for the right to control our bodies, women can start to build those legacies of their own.
Photo from cote via flickr.