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Cecile Richards: People in 'the Most Conservative Areas of the Country' Support Abortion on Demand

Cecile Richards-Planned Parenthood's president. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards suggested that a broad swath of Americans — even in “the most conservative areas of the country” — support unrestricted access to abortion.

The country “is overwhelmingly supportive of abortion rights,” Richards told Politico in an interview published Tuesday. “People even in some of the most conservative areas of the country who may themselves personally say, ‘I would never choose to have an abortion,’ or ‘That’s not something that’s right for me,’ absolutely do not believe politicians should be making decisions about pregnancy for women.”

Richards’ sleight of hand is impressive. While arguing that people in “the most conservative parts of the country” support unfettered access to abortion, she couches this in terms of “making decisions about pregnancy.”

But government cannot “make decisions about pregnancy.” No pro-life law seeks to force women to have unprotected sex, and no pro-life candidate would argue for a “Handmaid’s Tale” style government (contrary to the claims of abortion activists).

Americans do overwhelmingly support restrictions on abortion, however. A January poll that delved deep into abortion attitudes discovered that even 54 percent of Americans who describe themselves as “pro-choice” would restrict abortion to the first three months of pregnancy, or only allow it in special cases (rape, incest, or threats to the life of the mother).

Indeed, a full 58 percent of Democrats said they would support abortion restrictions, as did 69 percent of millennials, 79 percent of Latinos, 79 percent of African-Americans, and even 77 percent of women.

Richards argued that “you cannot get elected in this country without the support of women.” That is entirely true, but it doesn’t mean what the Planned Parenthood president wants it to mean.

Richards was responding to Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), who caused a stir late last month by saying, “There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates.”

“As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America,” Luján insisted.

To this, Richards said, “I think he’s totally wrong.”

But Luján is not alone in insisting Democrats need a big tent on abortion to retake the House of Representatives next year. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and even California Gov. Jerry Brown have agreed.

Many Democrats have sided with Richards, however, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and megadonors Tom Steyer and Howard Dean. Ironically, Dean led the Democrats to victory in 2006 — using a big tent strategy on abortion.

Click “Load More” to hear audio from Richards’ interview.