American philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon founder and multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos, has donated $275 million to Planned Parenthood, the organization, which runs health centers including clinics practicing abortions in the United States.
This donation comes at a time when many American states controlled by conservatives are trying to restrict access to abortion, protected by a Supreme Court ruling since 1973. Planned Parenthood welcomed this donation which is “largest from an individual donor in the organization’s history”.
Funds must be used for programs “elimination of racial and structural barriers” that weigh on African-American 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 center 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.
More than a hundred restrictive abortion laws were passed in the United States in 2021 and since the beginning of 2022, more than 300 others have been introduced in 41 American states, according to Planned Parenthood. A decision by the Supreme Court could also upset the legal framework in force for nearly 50 years. In December, during the examination of a Mississippi law reducing the legal time limit for an abortion to fifteen weeks, certain judges had in fact openly mentioned the possibility of overturning the “Roe v. Wade” which guarantees the right of women to have an abortion 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 its wealth to charity. It has already made donations to several hundred associations active in various fields (food banks, financial and credit services for disadvantaged communities, legal groups fighting against discrimination, poor housing). The NGO Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for the poorly housed, announced on Tuesday that it had received 436 million dollars.
On Wednesday, Mackenzie Scott set out in a blog post the list of the 465 organizations to which she 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 comes from the economic fallout from her divorce from Jeff Bezos, finalized in July 2019.
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