MacKenzie Scott donated $275 million to Planned Parenthood and 21 of its affiliates, making it the largest gift from a single donor in the organization's history, Planned Parenthood announced Wednesday.
The donation from Scott, who received a 4% stake in Amazon in her divorce settlement with founder Jeff Bezos, comes at a crucial time for Planned Parenthood. Sexual and reproductive health rights are under attack across the country as conservative lawmakers are rushing to introduce and pass anti-abortion legislation in anticipation of the Supreme Court rolling back Roe v. Wade.
In 2021, Texas banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and more than 100 abortion restrictions were enacted in dozens of states, according to the Guttmacher Institute. This year, more than 500 abortion restrictions have been introduced in 41 states.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Mississippi case concerning how early in a pregnancy states can ban abortion, could have nationwide consequences this year. If the court rules in favor of Mississippi, then more anti-abortion states could adopt early-term abortion bans, or laws banning the procedure altogether.
Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains (PPRM) was one of the 21 affiliates that received a donation from Scott in the sum of $20 million. Adrienne Mansanares, president and CEO of PPRM, which oversees New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado, and southern Nevada health centers, told BuzzFeed News that the money will be immediately used to give employees a raise and for long-term investments, like upgrading their physical location, telehealth services, and advancing health equity goals.
She said that Planned Parenthood clinics in all four states had seen an uptick in patients traveling hundreds of miles to get care. One in three abortion care patients in the New Mexico center come from Texas, she added.
Mansanares said Scott's donation was an "incredible gift" but added that the complications, challenges, and attacks against reproductive healthcare "can't be solved by just one large gift."
"We're really hoping this inspires other donors to continue with their generosity because that's what it's going to take is a big community of a lot of donors, small and large, who are helping to fund Planned Parenthoods across the country," she said.
Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement that Scott's donation would help the organization's efforts to eliminate racial and structural barriers, considering Black women experienced higher rates of maternal mortality and STIs.
“By starting with the Black health experience in partnership with local communities, we see this as an opportunity to not only improve health outcomes for Black patients, but to transform how all patients, especially those of color and those in rural and low income communities, experience our health care, education, and organizing efforts," Johnson said in the news release.
Scott, who pledged in 2019 to give away most of her wealth over her lifetime and donated roughly $6 billion to hundreds of nonprofits in 2020, said in a Medium post Wednesday that only "a tiny fraction of global humanitarian assistance" goes to organizations "focused on the disproportionate challenges experienced by women and girls."
"As always our aim has been to support the needs of underrepresented people from groups of all kinds," Scott wrote. "The cause of equity has no sides."
Scott also donated $436 million to Habitat for Humanity. She has given away roughly $3.9 billion this year to a total of 465 nonprofits.