Andy Richter shared an honest story about what abortion access meant to his family.

Comedian Andy Richter is best known as Conan O'Brien's quippy sidekick.

You may also know him as the guy who absolutely crushed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer on "Celebrity Jeopardy" to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.

Andy and Conan probably up to some shenanigans. Photo via Team Coco/YouTube.


Other than that, though, he keeps a relatively low profile.

Recently, Richter was invited to speak at the Sexy Beast Gala for Planned Parenthood, where he shared a surprisingly personal and meaningful story.  

“I’d like to share a story,” he began (emphasis mine):

"In 1992, my girlfriend and I were having a rough time. We’d been performing in a show together for a couple of years, but it had come to an end, and we found ourselves living apart. She was in New York City working three jobs; I was in Chicago jobless and sleeping on my mother’s couch. The strain of living apart, and the stress of being two young people attempting to make a living as performers and writers was really taking a toll on our relationship. So when she called me to tell me that she was pregnant, it was not exactly happy news."

Richter went on to explain that in that difficult moment, he was immensely grateful for the existence of Planned Parenthood.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

He continued:

"Luckily for us, Planned Parenthood existed. My girlfriend knew that she was not ready for motherhood, and I knew that I was in no way prepared to be a father. I drove from Chicago in my battered old Toyota pickup to be with her when she went to Planned Parenthood to terminate her pregnancy.

Her choice to get an abortion was a choice that she made with assuredness. She knew that she was doing the right thing for everyone involved. But I can’t say it was easy. She was sad, and I was sad, and it was sad. But to this day, I know that she will tell you that she made the right decision."

Shortly after, the stress and strain of their long-distance relationship took its toll, and Richter and his girlfriend broke up.

But not for long, he explained:

"What seems like five minutes after that, we realized that breaking up was the stupidest thing we’d ever done. So we got back together, and we got engaged, and we got married, and we had a couple kids, and a parrot and two dogs. And so far, we’ve been married for 22 wonderful years.

Planned Parenthood gave two young struggling people the ability to do the thing that is in their name: We got to plan parenthood.

When we could barely care for ourselves, much less a newborn, we were able to choose the time when we brought a child into our lives. Planned Parenthood allowed my wife to make the decisions she needed to make in order to control her body and her health, and maintain her life and her future. And for that, I will be eternally grateful."



Andy Richter (far right) and his family in 2015. Photo via Team Coco/YouTube.

Despite the fact that the procedure is common and has been federally legal for 43 years, abortion is still vilified, stigmatized, and blatantly misrepresented in the media.

Constant inflammatory rhetoric makes abortion providers like Planned Parenthood frequent targets for violence.

In November 2015, three people were killed at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs when a man walked in and opened fire. It was mere months after an anti-abortion group started releasing misleading videos about Planned Parenthood's practices.

Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images.

The more people like Richter share their positive experiences with abortion, the more we can change the conversation around it.

In August 2016, actress Naya Rivera revealed in her book that she had an abortion while shooting "Glee." She told People that she made the decision to publicly share that part of her life because abortion "is not something a lot of people talk about. ... But I hope someone out there gets something out of [her story]." Comedian Chelsea Handler, "Girls" actor Jemima Kirke, and rapper Nicki Minaj have also opened up about their own experiences with abortion in recent years.

The reality of abortion is in stories like Andy's, Naya's, Chelsea's, Jemima's, and Nicki's. It's in the stories of the 1 in 3 women who will use their right to an abortion in their lifetimes.

In Richter's case, he and his then-girlfriend, now-wife faced a difficult decision and had to make a choice. The choice they made allowed them to start a family on their own terms, when they were ready to support one.

Photo by Alex J. Berliner/ABImages via AP Images.

On a broader scale, safe access to abortion helps make society better for everyone by reducing child abuse, narrowing the gender gap, reducing crime, and (like it did for Richter and his wife) strengthening relationships — as people aren't forced to bring a child into the world that they don't feel equipped to take care of.

Every story like this that gets shared helps correct the misinformation that has been spread by the anti-abortion movement. These stories help the millions of people that Planned Parenthood reaches every year feel more secure in their ability to exercise their right to make decisions about their health, their safety, and their lives. And that's a good thing.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."