NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pledging money to Planned Parenthood to offset funds that were cut by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation.
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The billionaire mayor has promised to match future donations to Planned Parenthood up to $250,000, mayoral spokeswoman Samantha Levine said Thursday. The organization uses the money for breast cancer screenings.
Bloomberg, a Democrat turned Republican turned independent, said politics “have no place” in health care.
“Breast cancer screening saves lives, and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care,” he said in a written statement. “We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way.”
“The Mayor is stepping up and giving this gift is saying ‘do not politicize this issue.’ Women’s health just matters too much,” President and CEO of Planned Parenthood NYC, Joan Malin, told CBS 2′ s Dave Carlin.
Many donors and cancer research advocates were outraged after the Komen foundation said it was cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood because of new criteria for giving grants.
Critics, however, accused it of bowing to pressure from anti-abortion activists.
On Wednesday, the Komen Foundation issued a statement saying “Our grant-making decisions are not about politics…Any efforts to make this political or leverage it for fundraising purposes would be a disservice to women.”
The national-level Planned Parenthood is the focus of a Capitol Hill investigation into its use of taxpayer funds. Komen Foundation founder Nancy Brinker said that probe was a factor in the decision to cut funding for Planned Parenthood.
“Regrettably this strategic shift will affect any number of long-standing partners, but we have always done what is right for our organization,” she said, adding “the scurrilous accusations being hurled at this organization are profoundly hurtful to so many of us.”
Thousands of messages have swamped Komen’s Facebook page — the vast majority of them being negative. The Executive Director of Komen in Los Angeles has also resigned her post as a result of the decision.
“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,” Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a written statement.
The mayor sent out a Twitter message Thursday afternoon urging other donors to come forward.
“Join me in standing with Planned Parenthood to protect and promote women’s health,” he tweeted.
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