Ruth Richardson ’06 named CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States – News and Events

Posted: September 13, 2022

Ruth Richardson ’06

A 2006 Mitchell Hamline alum who is also a Minnesota state representative has been named the new CEO of the Planned Parenthood organization that covers five states, including Minnesota. Ruth Richardson will lead Planned Parenthood North Central States, which operates 28 health centers — plus telehealth options — and serves more than 100,000 patients each year.

“Each patient, staff member, supporter and volunteer has cemented Planned Parenthood as the largest provider of compassionate sexual and reproductive health care in our region, with fierce advocacy to fight for our rights and an extensive sex education program” , said Richardson, in a Press release. “Our mission is more important than ever.”

Richardson will be the first black woman to lead the North Central States of Planned Parenthood and is also seeking re-election to the Minnesota House. After previously leading a nonprofit — Wayside Recovery Center — that focused on mental health and addictions support, Richardson will oversee health operations for Planned Parenthood North Central States. She will not lead a separate organization that oversees political and lobbying work during her elective term.

“Ruth’s education, background and experience in health care, health equity and executive leadership positions her to successfully lead Planned Parenthood North Central States,” said Sharon Sayles Belton, a former mayor of Minneapolis who sits on the organization’s board of directors and chaired its CEO. research committee.

Richardson assumes his new role in the months following the overturning of the US Supreme Court’s decision. Roe vs. Wade decision which had guaranteed access to abortion as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution; with the Dobbs decision, states now have substantial freedom to restrict or even ban abortion altogether. So far, twelve states have banned the procedure and others have severely restricted it, although abortion remains legal in Minnesota.

“The new post-deer world means we can’t operate the same way we have for the past 50 years,” Richardson added. “We need to focus on serving patients in our region and serving people in states that have banned abortion, with regional access in mind.”

In a interview with MPR news, she added “reproductive justice and just the human right to health care is something that was really instilled in me as a child, hearing my mother’s childbirth stories and her sisters growing up in segregated Mississippi.”

Richardson led several efforts as a legislator. In the weeks following the 2020 killing of George Floyd, his proposals to ban police warrior training, as well as requiring autism training for law enforcement, were part of an agreement reached in Minnesota to make several changes to police use of force. She also wrote and succeeded with bipartisan support A resolution which declares racism a statewide public health crisis.

In 2021, she drafted a bill that became law to create the first government-funded country task force to investigate the crisis of missing and murdered black women, who are killed and die at disproportionately higher rates than women of most other ethnic groups.

Richardson says she was first drawn to fighting racist policies as a law student at William Mitchell College of Law in the mid-2000s, when she worked as a clerk for Central Minnesota Legal Aid.

The organization at the time was working to repeal state law vagrancy law, which made it a crime to hang around or beg for money, to be a sex worker, and to be unemployed if you weren’t looking for a job. The law was repealed in 2005, a year before Richardson graduated from Mitchell.

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