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Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards: It's 'exciting' to hear women 'tell their abortion stories

"I think once we get out of the shadows, ... it normalizes what should be an open and honest conversation."

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Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, gets "excited" when she hears about how and why women chose to get abortions.

Following a campaign appearance with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Iowa City Wednesday, Richards sat down with The Daily Iowan to discuss the election and abortion, something the Planned Parenthood leader says has been "stigmatized" in the same way "homosexuality was" when she was younger.

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"The exciting thing to me now is that young people are telling their stories and they are living out loud. More women are telling their abortion stories, and I told mine," she said.  "I think once we get out of the shadows, and I think the LGBT movement has led the way in this, it normalizes what should be an open and honest conversation."

Since the next president will nominate at least one justice — and possibly more — to the U.S. Supreme Court, this election is of utmost importance to Richards and other abortion advocates, given Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has vowed to nominate pro-life justices, should he win in November.

"I think one of the biggest things that’s on the line is actually Roe vs. Wade and the Supreme Court," Richards said, adding GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence "has a very long career of trying to end safe and legal abortion."

She continued, "And of course they’ve come out to completely defund Planned Parenthood — which means that millions of folks who count on us for healthcare through public programs could no longer come to Planned Parenthood for preventive care like cancer screenings and family planning. So those issues are certainly on the ballot."

Speaking on the same issue during the vice presidential debate Tuesday night, Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine chided Pence, asking him why he doesn't "trust women" to decide whether they want to go through with an abortion.

"I think you should live your moral values, but the last thing, the very last thing, the government should do, is have laws that would punish women who make reproductive choices," Kaine said at the time. "And that is the fundamental difference between a Clinton-Kaine ticket and a Trump-Pence ticket that wants to punish women."

As TheBlaze previously reported, several pro-life groups criticized Kaine's defense of abortion.

"When you work in the pro-life movement and you start to talk to women who have had abortions and you start to understand how many of them have felt coerced into that decision by their families or boyfriends or partners, you really see through this talking point of the other side," Susan B. Anthony List communications director Mallory Quigley said.

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