As part of an Obama campaign event, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards addressed an audience of community members and students at Drake Library Thursday about the importance of supporting women’s rights by voting for President Barack Obama this election.

While Richards’ tone was light through most of the speech, she touched on some serious issues.

“These are battles we’ve fought and won, and isn’t it time we move on as America?” Richards said while discussing the differences between party stances on women’s rights.

Cecile Richards greats community members after her speech in Drake library Thursday afternoon. Photo by Emma Sinai-Yunker

Richards wove anecdotes of her own life in with the history of Planned Parenthood. She discussed how far the organization has come, describing one of the founders being arrested for handing out pamphlets on birth control. Then she explained to the audience how the Affordable Care Act has done four key things for women’s rights: that it is no longer legal to charge women more than men for healthcare, that there is no longer a copay for preventative care such as breast exams and birth control, that children can remain on their parents’  insurance plan, and that women can no longer be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions such as breast cancer.

“President Obama trusts women and that’s why he has my vote,” Richards said.

Richards then turned her attention to the fact that support for women’s rights and Planned Parenthood is by no means something that only Democratic women care about.

“[This] is not a partisan issue. Women from all walks of life come to Planned Parenthood for affordable healthcare,” Richards said. “These are more than just women’s issues. These are men’s issues, family issues, couple’s issues.”

Throughout her speech, Richards touched on the consistent support she had seen from a number of Grinnellians. A large portion of the audience was students, some of whom missed class in order to attend.

Richards had some closing words for the students who couldn’t make it to her speech: “Grinnell is a college that has always had really high voter participation and been a very progressive school. I hope that all of the students at Grinnell will vote early, the great thing in Iowa is that you can actually vote now, and I think it’s so important to understand that Obama has been a fabulous president not only for women but for young people. He’s done incredible things for education for young people and I think we need to move this country forward and support the president.”