American philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos, has donated $275 million to Planned Parenthood, the organization that runs health facilities, including clinics that perform abortions across the United States.
This donation comes at a time when many conservative-controlled US states are seeking to restrict access to abortion, protected by a Supreme Court ruling dating back to 1973. Planned Parenthood welcomed this donation, which is “the largest by an individual donor in the organization’s history”.
Funds must be used for programs “removal of racial and structural barriers” that weigh on black women, Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement. African-American women are disproportionately affected by maternal mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and restricted access to abortion options in the South and Central parts of the country, she recalled. “This generous donation comes at a time when access to sexual and reproductive health care is under attack like never before, including access to abortion.”she added.
In 2021, more than 100 restrictive abortion laws were passed in the United States, and as of early 2022, more than 300 have been introduced in 41 US states, according to Planned Parenthood. A decision by the Supreme Court could also alter the legal framework that has been in place for almost 50 years. In December, during the review of a Mississippi law that reduced the legal term for an abortion to fifteen weeks, some judges had openly mentioned the possibility of annulling the case “Roe v. Wade” that guarantees the right of women to abort during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.
Half of his wealth to charity
MacKenzie Scott, whose fortune is valued at $49.3 billion by the magazine Forbes, has pledged to donate at least half of his wealth to charity. He has already donated to several hundred associations active in various fields (food banks, financial and credit services for disadvantaged communities, legal groups fighting discrimination, precarious housing). The NGO Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for the poor, announced Tuesday that it received $436 million.
On Wednesday, Mackenzie Scott posted in a blog post the list of the 465 organizations to which he has donated since June for a total of 3.86 billion dollars, without detailing the amounts. “Our goal has always been to support the needs of underrepresented people in all kinds of groups”, She explained. Much of her fortune stems from the financial fallout from her divorce from Jeff Bezos, finalized in July 2019.
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