Thousands donate to Planned Parenthood in name of anti-abortion Mike Pence

US Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence speaks at US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's election night rally in Manhattan, New York, US on Nov 8, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Thousands of people have made donations to Planned Parenthood in the name of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, an abortion opponent, so that he will receive official acknowledgements from the women's health care provider, the group said on Tuesday (Nov 15).

The idea of making donations in Pence's name arose and spread on social media as a protest after Republican Donald Trump won his bid for the US presidency in a surprise victory last week.

Both Trump and Pence, his running mate, have pledged to curtail women's rights to abortion.

Trump said the US Supreme Court ruling Roe v Wade legalising abortion should be overturned and that he would appoint an anti-abortion justice to the nation's highest court.

Trump also said women who had abortions should be punished but later said it was doctors who perform abortions who should be punished.

Pence, whose home state of Indiana has restrictive laws regulating access to abortion, has pushed for Congress to defund the non-profit Planned Parenthood, which performs some abortions.

A number of celebrities have publicised the donation campaign in Pence's name with posts on social media, including Emmy Award-winning comedian Amy Schumer and actresses Ashley Hinshaw, Jaime Perry and Amber Tamblyn.

They said their donations to Planned Parenthood included the address of Pence's office in Indiana so it would get the acknowledgement that Planned Parenthood mails to donors.

At least 20,000 people who have donated money since the US election on Nov 8 named Pence as donor, out of 160,000 people overall, a Planned Parenthood spokesman told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Planned Parenthood has reported a surge in donations and demand for long-acting contraceptives since Trump's election.

Pence signed a law this year that would have banned abortions due to genetic abnormality, criminalised collection of foetal tissue for research, required foetal tissue be buried or cremated and made women look at their foetal ultrasounds before getting an abortion.

A federal judge blocked the law in June.

Pence's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Planned Parenthood, which has more than 650 health centers nationwide, relies on public funding for about 40 per cent of its funding. Private donations comprise about one quarter of its revenue, it said in its 2016 annual report.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.