Melinda Gates’ June 2nd claim that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has “decided not to fund abortion” has been taken by many as a positive change in the Foundation’s policy. In truth, however, the longstanding Gates Foundation policy of lucrative funding for abortion companies remains unchanged.
We know that this policy has not really changed because if the Gates Foundation had genuinely decided to stop funding abortion companies, Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards and her minions would be all over the media and internet, shrieking about how the Gates Foundation was attacking women’s health.
No, International Planned Parenthood Foundation, Marie Stopes International and similar organizations will not be complaining one bit, despite comments from Mrs. Gates that make it appear that her foundation has had a change of mind. The abortion industry will continue to receive tens of millions annually from the largest private foundation in the world, run by the wealthiest couple in the world. Mrs. Gates’ claim is just a restatement of Gates Foundation’s longstanding and disingenuous policy that prohibits the open promotion and funding of abortion as such, but rewards the largest abortion companies in the world with huge grants every year for general programming and for contraception. One simply cannot argue that this largesse does not grow the capacity and reach of these organizations.
Anticipating criticism for what was to be an explosion in funding for abortion companies, Mrs. Gates told Newsweek magazine in 2012: “From the very beginning, we said that as a foundation we will not support abortion, because we don’t believe in funding it.” This came during a deluge of sympathetic media coverage leading up to the Gates Foundation-led London Family Planning Summit in July 2012. 4.6 billion dollars was the price tag for the world’s largest promoters of population control to come together and commit to dramatically reducing fertility among women of color in the developing world by the year 2020.
The 4.6 billion (though, in some places the number 2.6 billion is used) raised for what is now called Family Planning 2020 is intended to get 120 million women to start using long term birth control drugs, especially injectables like Depo Provera. The stated goal is to help poor women space pregnancies, enabling them to better manage their lives and families, and achieve better health outcomes.
Those who are familiar with the huge gap between the promises and the reality of Gates Foundation-led Common Core effort to reform American education will recognize the modus operandi of Mrs. Gates’ Family Planning 2020: assurances of expertise in crafting the “consensus” agenda, promises of data-based decisions and monitoring of results, references to academic studies supporting their case, claims of unanimity and flexibility, etc.
But once you cut through the expertly-crafted sales pitch, the Gates Foundation paradigm once again becomes clear: An extremely heavy-handed, top-down approach, fueled by billions in incentives that will most likely result in disastrous results when it comes to implementation. Two questions illuminate some of the most troubling aspects of Family Planning 2020: How are the partners going to get 120 million women to accept in eight years something that everyone knows is contrary to African culture? And, given that the primary method promoted by the Gates Foundation is the injectable Depo Provera – which is barely used in the US due to its “black box warning” from the FDA and has been shown in a peer-reviewed scientific journal to double the risk of HIV transmission in women (a study funded in part by the Gates Foundation, so they must know about it) – how can they document that every recipient of this method is truly making an informed decision about what is best for her reproductive health? One liberal group, the Rebecca Project for Justice, is challenging the Gates Foundation for its “deadly reproductive violence” against black women.
Marie Stopes International (MSI), the largest committer of abortion – legally and illegally – in Africa, is one of the primary implementation agents for FP2020, and this does not bode well for the voluntariness of participation on the part of those receiving Gates Foundation-funded Depo Provera. The organization that received $46 million from the Gates Foundation in 2012 has been caught saying that they already “do illegal abortions all over the world.” MSI’s greatest “success” to date, however, is its participation in China’s barbaric one-child policy, in which forced abortions, sterilization and infanticide are all routinely perpetrated, trampling women’s rights at the whim of an authoritarian regime. This continues today with the help of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which still receives tax dollars from US Citizens despite its dismal human rights record. Both MSI and UNFPA are massive promoters and perpetrators of abortion, and both are partners in the Gates Foundation’s push to permanently or temporarily sterilize women “voluntarily” in Africa.
So when Melinda Gates assures us that her foundation does not fund abortion, the informed listener should see an asterisk following the claim. It is true that they do not openly fund abortion, but they give tens of millions annually to the biggest abortion companies and promoters in the world. And their decision to lead the most ambitious sterilization campaign in history, with less than reputable organizations implementing the program on the ground, does not bode well for African women’s health or justice. It is too early to say for certain that abuses are being perpetrated, but given the history and present state of widespread population control abuse, the Gates Foundation would do well to clarify its position on funding abortion and to distance itself from companies with acknowledged participation in coercive “fertility reduction” campaigns.