NEW YORK – Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pledging up to $250,000 to Planned Parenthood to offset funds that were cut by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation.
The billionaire mayor has promised to match future donations to Planned Parenthood up to $250,000, mayoral spokeswoman Samantha Levine said Thursday. The health services 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."
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 accused it of bowing to pressure from anti-abortion activists.
"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.
Bloomberg, who founded the financial services news company Bloomberg LP, was a Democrat before switching to the Republican Party in 2001, the year he was first elected mayor. In 2007, he left the party while flirting with a possible presidential run as an independent. He was re-elected mayor as an independent in 2009.