By
Andrea Michell Reports
updated 7/16/2013 6:19:00 PM ET 2013-07-16T22:19:00

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards called the Texas abortion bill "extreme" and questioned its constitutionality.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, called into question the constitutionality of the abortion bill passed in Texas last week, during her appearance on Andrea Mitchell Reports.

Richards showed her concern over the “extreme set of bills” that will close down dozens of health centers that provide abortion services in Texas.

“We believe many aspects of the law probably are unconstitutional,” Richards said on Tuesday.

The Planned Parenthood chief added that Texas women are already dealing with scaled back health services after Gov. Rick Perry opted to cut funding for family planning clinics and, more recently, cut Planned Parenthood out of the federal-state partnership that was the Women’s Health Program.

“The thing that’s really terrible about this is that it’s coming on the heels of Gov. Perry actually shutting down the Women’s Health Program in the state of Texas, where more than 100,000 women already lost access to preventive care,” Richards continued.

The Texas Legislature approved the bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks, becoming the 16th state to adopt stricter laws concerning the procedure, despite an all-day filibuster by State Sen. Wendy Davis in late June to block the bill. Republican leaders in other states such as North Carolina and Ohio have also recently turned their attention to focusing on stricter abortion bills, following Texas’ example much to the dismay of Richards.

“I think it’s a growing theme unfortunately in many states where politicians are putting their own political agenda ahead of women’s health care,” Richards said.

Richards remained adamant that the legislation is a “much broader effort to take away women’s access to care.”

The bill passed in Texas “would literally close down dozens of women’s health centers because of the ridiculous restrictions that are placed upon them and on doctors,” Richards said. “It is literally, the legislation getting in between doctors and their ability to provide medical care.”

However, Richards did express optimism over the reaction to the bill and the protests that took place against it.

“What we are seeing, which is very encouraging, is that this has enraged and engaged a whole new generation of women and men who are absolutely not willing to go back to a time where women didn’t have access to health care in America.”

Video: Texas becomes 16th state to tighten regulations on abortion clinics

  1. Closed captioning of: Texas becomes 16th state to tighten regulations on abortion clinics

    >>> on friday texas became the 16th state to tighten regulations on abortion clinics in the past three years, effect of you havely putting most of them out of business. this is part of a growing movement by states to restrict access to family planning and other women 's health facilities. joining me now, cecelia richards, president of the planned parent action fund. thanks for being with us.

    >> sure.

    >> the texas vote i know was filibustered, then rick perry an the legislature pushed it through so there is no appeal now. this is going to happen. what can you or planned parenthood and other groups do to try to keep some of these clinics open?

    >> well, thanks for asking, andrea. look, this is a very extreme set of bills that are going to close down dozens of health centers in texas . we are really looking at a constitutionality we believe many aspects of the law are probably unconstitutional. but the thing that's really terrible about this, it is coming on the heels of governor perry actually shutting down the women 's hell program in the state of texas where more than 100,000 women already lost access to preventive care . i think it is a growing theme, unfortunately, in many states where politicians are putting their observe political agenda ahead of women 's health care .

    >> we've seen action now in north carolina . we saw what happened in the budget bill in ohio. also scott walker in wisconsin. we are seeing state by state efforts through budget actions, often without hearings, to roll back access to health care in women .

    >> right. that's what's incredible. i just spent a lot of time in texas . it is my home state, of course. in fact this bill was so extreme they couldn't get it through the regular legislature. they couldn't even get it through a special session . as you know, senator wendy davis successful filibustered that bill so they brought the legislature back a third time simply to ram this bill through even though it is not supported by the majority of texans. we see the same thing in north carolina . very unpopular moves by the legislature. literally attaching anti-choice, anti- women 's legislation to a motorcycle bill just in hopes of jamming it through the legislature there. but people do not support this even as states like north carolina and in texas .

    >> we should point out that there is very little support -- never has been -- for late term abortions. it is a rarely used medical option but this is not just about late term abortions. this is about preventive health care and planned parenthood offering non-abortion services to women .

    >> that's right. look, the rules -- the law that was just passed in texas would literally close down dozens of women 's health centers because of the ridiculous restrictions that are placed upon them and on doctors. it is literally the legislature getting in between doctors and their getting between doctors and their ability to provide medical care . in states where they're trying to cut women off of going to planned parenthood for basic things and cancer screening. this is a much broader effort to take away women 's access to care. what we are seeing, which is very encouraging and i think you're showing some of the signs, is this has enraged and engaged a whole new generation of young women and men who are absolutely not willing to go back to a time where women didn't have access to health care in america.

    >> but that said, wendy davis became, you know, a national figure overnight over this. but in texas your mother ann richards , i believe, is the last elected democratic governor in 1990 . so it's --

    >> it's been a long time. but it was interesting, andrea, to be at the capitol and to see literally thousands of people come back to the capitol day after day after day to testify against these bills. many people said they hadn't seen anything like this since ann richards was elected governor. you know, she said when she ran for office that she wanted to open up government to the people of texas and let them in. i think thousands of people in texas have taken her up on that offer in the last few weeks. it's been very encouraging to see democracy in action.

    >> i can only imagine what she would be saying. i could hear her voice.

    >> i think we did.

    >> exactly. well, it's always great to see you. thank you very much for the update. we'll stay on this story and be right back. chances

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