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.

Aging is a weird thing. We all do it—we truly have no choice in the matter. It's literally how time and living things work.

But boy, do we make the process all kinds of complicated. The anti-aging market has created a 58.5 billion-dollar industry, with human beings spending their whole lives getting older spending buttloads of money to pretend like it's not happening.

I'm one of those human beings, by the way, so no judgment here. When I find a product that makes me look as young as I feel inside, I get pretty giddy.

But there's no doubt that our views on aging—and by extension, our perspectives on our own aging bodies—are influenced by popular culture. As we see celebrities in the spotlight who seem to be ageless, we enviously tag them with the hashtag #aginggoals. The goal is to "age well," which ultimately means looking like we're not aging at all. And so we break out the creams and the serums and the microdermabrasion and the injections—even the scalpel, in some cases—to keep the wrinkles, crinkles, bags, and sags at bay.

There's a big, blurry line between having a healthy skincare routine and demonizing normal signs of aging, and we each decide where our own line gets drawn.

This is where Justine Bateman comes in.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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