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Op-Ed Columnist: Sex, Trump and Cecile

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We will stop here to contemplate the fact that an administration that is all about stopping abortion wants to destroy programs meant to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place.

O.K., moment of silence is over.

But while we’re into irony, let’s dwell briefly on the idea of Donald Trump presiding over a drive for chastity, i.e., “sexual risk avoidance.” You know that no matter how desperately Trump caters to that dreaded Base, he’s not seriously championing a reduction in copulation.

“This has been Mike Pence’s mission,” Richards said. “When he was governor he did everything he could to shut us down.” (The crusade was certainly successful in one low-income Indiana county, where the Planned Parenthood clinic was driven away, and with it the only free testing for H.I.V. in the area. Infection rates soared.)

Planned Parenthood’s patients are certainly worried about what’s next. They’ve been calling up “desperate to get birth control — especially IUDs,” Richards said. Presumably, the best form of contraception in the age of Trump is one that could last you past 2020.

Planned Parenthood has been a flash point ever since 1916, when Margaret Sanger was arrested for handing out birth control information. These days, its opposition seems particularly obsessed.

Yet at the same time the organization is becoming more and more popular. A recent Fox News survey found it had a 58 percent favorable rating — the top in a crop that included everything from labor unions to Donald Trump. In a similar NBC News poll, Planned Parenthood came in ahead of the F.B.I. and everyone else on the questionnaire, including the Republican Party.

For Richards it’s been a stupendously successful run. She’s just published a memoir, “Make Trouble,” in which she writes about her own history of hell-raising, going back to a boycott of the class prayer when she was in grade school.

Making trouble was actually a kind of family business — her mother, Ann Richards, was a pathbreaking governor of Texas, the first woman ever elected to that job without being married to a prior governor who got indicted.


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