Skip To Content
The Schmooze

Planned Parenthood ‘Kills Females’ Nominee Asked About Dr. Ruth Quote

There’s a lot that people don’t know about sex therapist and sexual evangelist Doctor Ruth Westheimer. The 4’7” Holocaust survivor was a sniper in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. She maintains one of the best Twitters in existence. She is quadrilingual. And one of her early jobs was as a researcher at Planned Parenthood.

In fact, she told outgoing Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards last week that she credits her time at Planned Parenthood for her initial interest in studying sex. “Planned Parenthood is a very important part of my professional life,” the 89 year-old told Richards. “My granddaughter Leora actually worked for Planned Parenthood last summer.”

So it is surprising that Wendy Vitter, the Trump nominee for a lifelong term on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, deflected questions during her congressional hearing by reminiscing about her use of a Dr. Ruth quote.

Vitter was asked by California Senator Kamala Harris whether a quote she cited at an appearance in 2010 would apply to her belief that life begins at conception. “In a 2010 speech,” said Harris, “You asked the audience to be ‘turtles’ and ‘stick out’ their necks and ‘fight for the things that matter…as a judge are you suggesting you would stick out your neck and fight for pro-life cases?” Vitter ignored the question and chuckled to Harris “that’s a well known commencement speech and I forgot who said it — I think that might be Dr. Ruth Westheimer who said that!”

This is surprising because Vitter has taken an active role in the anti-abortion movement. It’s surprising because Vitter once led a panel at which literature was distributed claiming that contraception has been shown to cause “violent death” and adultery, a topic that also came up at the hearing. And it’s surprising because Vitter said this, at a speech in 2013:

Planned Parenthood says they promote women’s health. It is the saddest of ironies that they kill over 150,000 females a year.

Vitter, who famously mocked Hillary Clinton for forgiving her husband’s sex scandal and was later revealed to have forgiven her own husband’s solicitation of a prostitute, should know by now how to use the word “irony.” For example, isn’t it ironic to use a progressive sex therapist and former Planned Parenthood employee’s quote to promote anti-choice views? Don’t you think?

You can watch Wendy Vitter chuckle about Dr. Ruth and refuse to state that she agrees with the Brown V Board of Education decision here:

Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning journalism this Passover.

In this age of misinformation, our work is needed like never before. We report on the news that matters most to American Jews, driven by truth, not ideology.

At a time when newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall. That means for the first time in our 126-year history, Forward journalism is free to everyone, everywhere. With an ongoing war, rising antisemitism, and a flood of disinformation that may affect the upcoming election, we believe that free and open access to Jewish journalism is imperative.

Readers like you make it all possible. Right now, we’re in the middle of our Passover Pledge Drive and we still need 300 people to step up and make a gift to sustain our trustworthy, independent journalism.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Only 300 more gifts needed by April 30

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.