Exclusive: Sheryl Sandberg Is The Warrior America Needs Right Now — Here’s Why

It's no secret that President Trump and many of his GOP counterparts would love to "defund" Planned Parenthood. In fact, cutting off federal funds to the 100-year-old organization — which services 2.5 million Americans each year — is part of the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare. In terrifying times like these, we could all really use a hero (and, if we're being honest, some happy news). That's where Sheryl Sandberg comes in. The Facebook Chief Operating Officer, who has been a supporter of Planned Parenthood for years, has donated $1 million to the organization, Refinery29 is able to exclusively report. Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told us via email that she's grateful to Sandberg for "her longstanding, and now increased, support" for our health care. "We are so thankful for the outpouring of support we’ve seen since the election by so many people willing to donate their time, money, and energy to help Planned Parenthood," Richards says. "It’s especially important right now, as extreme politicians want to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood, which would deny millions of people — nearly half of whom are people of color, and many people who live in rural areas — the health care they rely on. Shutting down Planned Parenthood would create a national health disaster for women." In the past few months, private donations to Planned Parenthood have surged. But while such donations are welcome by the organization, this kind of funding cannot make up for the hundreds of millions in reimbursements Planned Parenthood receives from Medicaid for health services, Richards says. "We will never stop fighting for our patients and we thank everyone who, like Sheryl, has redoubled their commitment during this fight,” she adds. Many women have been waiting for Sandberg — who publicly backed Hillary Clinton in the election, and was rumored to be her pick for Treasury Secretary — to speak out against the current administration. After the election, she posted a conciliatory note that it was time for women to recommit ourselves to leaning in. Then, in December, Sandberg was among a handful of tech titans who assembled for a meeting at Trump Tower. But she remained largely silent. Finally, she spoke out on Facebook last week when Trump signed off on the first anti-abortion policy of his term: "I started my career working at the World Bank on health care in India. I saw firsthand how clinics funded by foreign aid are often the only source of health care for women. When women are given even the most basic health care information and services, they live longer, healthier lives — and they give birth to children who live longer, healthier lives... The best way to prevent abortion is through more family planning services, not fewer... Women’s rights are human rights — and there is no more basic right than health care. Women around the world deserve our support." As do women here at home. Thankfully, we have Sandberg in our corner, and she's stepping up her game. It kind of makes you wonder: Could rumors of a future presidential run prove to be true?
If you haven't already, sign up as a Planned Parenthood Defender now, and they'll text you about once a week (or when there's an urgent need) with simple, effective ways to take action.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series