Sheryl Sandberg donates $3 million to ACLU to protect abortion access

FILE- In this Sept. 5, 2018, file photo, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on “Foreign Influence Operations and Their Use of Social Media Platforms,” on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sandberg opened her next chapter as a full-time philanthropist Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, with a donation to the American Civil Liberties Union to fight state abortion bans across the country. Sandberg, who officially left her position as Facebook’s parent company Meta’s chief operating officer last week after 14 years, donated $3 million to the ACLU Ruth Bader Ginsburg Liberty Center. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

Former Meta executive Sheryl Sandberg donated $3 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to fight abortion restrictions following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the group announced on Tuesday.

“Few things are more important to women’s equality than access to safe and legal abortion,” Sandberg said in a statement.

“Today, over one-third of women in the U.S. can’t access safe abortions,” she continued. “We’ve only just begun to see the devastating impact that state abortion bans will have on women’s health, and their ability to determine the course of their own lives. Now, more than ever, we must keep up the fight to defend our right to choose and protect abortion access.”

Sandberg served as chief operating officer of Meta, then Facebook, from 2008 until she stepped down on Aug. 1.

In her departure announcement weeks earlier, Sandberg indicated she would look to pursue philanthropic work after leaving Meta.

“I am not entirely sure what the future will bring – I have learned no one ever is,” she wrote at the time. “But I know it will include focusing more on my foundation and philanthropic work, which is more important to me than ever given how critical this moment is for women.”

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero in a statement said the group will use some of the money to invest in abortion ballot measure campaigns, referencing Kansans’ rejection of a ballot measure in August that, if passed, would have allowed the state legislature to ban abortion.

“With Sheryl’s support on abortion rights, we can kick it into overdrive and redouble the fight for abortion access in the states,” Romero said. “We will educate voters on where their elected representatives stand on this important issue and turn the abortion issue into a referendum on candidates’ courage and character.”

Republican-controlled legislatures across the country have enacted various abortion restrictions since the high court’s ruling, with Democrats also hoping fury in the party from the decision will energize voters in November’s midterm elections.

The ACLU and other advocacy groups have challenged many of the new laws, leading some to be postponed in the courts.

Sandberg has been a longtime advocate for abortion rights and women’s issues.

At Meta, Sandberg became a close confidant of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the company’s rise, which also was accompanied by increasing scrutiny for the tech giant’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, data collection policies and the spread of misinformation.

“The debate around social media has changed beyond recognition since those early days,” Sandberg said in her departure announcement. “To say it hasn’t always been easy is an understatement. But it should be hard. The products we make have a huge impact, so we have the responsibility to build them in a way that protects privacy and keeps people safe.”

Sandberg continues to serve on the company’s board of directors.

Tags abortion American Civil Liberties Union Facebook META Roe v. Wade Sheryl Sandberg Sheryl Sandberg U.S. Supreme Court
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