Billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pledged to give $250,000 to Planned Parenthood to offset the Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision to cut funds to the health organization for breast cancer screenings.
His support comes as the Komen foundation itself comes under scrutiny for its decision to slash funds to the sexual and reproductive health organization, with some accusing Komen bigwig Karen Handel of creating the rule that disqualifies Planned Parenthood for the express purpose of catering to anti-abortion groups.
Bloomberg: 'Politics Have No Place in Health Care'
Please donate to help #PlannedParenthood's breast cancer screening program & I'll match up to $250,000, Bloomberg tweeted, ending the message with #standwithPP.
Politics have no place in health care, the mayor added in a separate statement to the New York Times.
Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care, he asserted.
We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.
Komen's 'Short-Sighted' Decision
The battle between Planned Parenthood and the Komen Foundation erupted this week when Komen announced it would not renew most of the grants it had been making to Planned Parenthood over the past several years, with funds averaging $700,000 a year.
Komen claims the cut was part of a newly adopted rule to prevent the foundation backing any group under congressional investigation.
Planned Parenthood is currently the subject of an investigation by Rep. Cliff Stearns, an anti-abortion Republican congressman from Florida, to find out if has spent public money on abortions.
Rumors spread, however, that the rule was invented by Komen's senior vice president for public policy, Karen Handel, who is a staunchly anti-abortion former Republican politician from Georgia.
On Thursday, Mollie Williams, a leading health official working for Komen, resigned in response to the massive funding cut.
Mollie is one of the most highly respected and ethical people inside the organization, and she felt she couldn't continue under these conditions, John Hammarley, Komen's former communications adviser, told The Guardian.
The Komen board of directors are very politically savvy folks, and I think over time they thought if they gave in to the very aggressive propaganda machine of the anti-abortion groups, that the issue would go away, he added. It seemed very short-sighted to me.
Planned Parenthood 'Enormously Grateful'
Bloomberg's pledge offers to give $1 for every dollar Planned Parenthood raises, with a $250,000 maximum on his side.
If supporters can match his donation, the sexual and reproductive health care provider will be able to carry on without the Komen cuts having almost any effect.
Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued a statement on Bloomberg's advocacy shortly after the mayor's announcement.
On behalf of hundreds of thousands of women nationwide who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast cancer education and screening, we are enormously grateful to Mayor Bloomberg, Richards said.
People all across the country have stepped forward in the last 48 hours to offer help and support, and the mayor's donation will help ensure that no woman is denied breast cancer services because of right-wing political pressure campaigns.