Cecile Richards to Step Down as President of Planned Parenthood

Cecile Richards is stepping down as president of Planned Parenthood after steering the health care organization for more than a decade, two sources close to Richards confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday.

It is not immediately clear when Richards, who joined the organization as president in 2006, plans to leave, but she has conveyed her plans to several of Planned Parenthood’s board members, the sources said.

The news was first reported by Buzzfeed.

Richards later confirmed the news in a statement Friday, saying that she will continue to advocate for women’s rights — though she did not offer a hint as to her next steps.

“I’m deeply proud of the progress we’ve made for the millions of people Planned Parenthood health centers serve across the country each year … and I will be leaving the organization well-positioned to serve and fight for our patients for a century more,” she said.

“Every day we see the incredible power that grassroots voices can have — there has never been a better moment to be an activist. You can bet I’ll be marching right alongside them, continuing to travel around the country advocating for the basic rights and health care that all people deserve. I’ve been an activist my entire life — and that won’t stop anytime soon,” she added.

Richards has been a significant figure in congressional fights over federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s clinics, which provide nonabortion-related health services to women, particularly in rural communities not otherwise served.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Dartunorro Clark and Andrea Mitchell