Pro-Life Advocates Seek to Stop Microsoft From Supporting Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 17, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Advocates Seek to Stop Microsoft From Supporting Abortion

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
November 17, 2003

Bellevue, WA ( — When you bought shares of Microsoft stock, did you think you were handing over a contribution to promote the abortion industry?

That’s been the unfortunate dilemma of people who have invested in the company best known for bringing Windows, Word, and other computer programs to your desktop.

Shareholders concerned about Microsoft’s policies with regard to charitable giving have been lobbying the high-tech giant to stop sending money to organizations that sell and promote abortion.

Last week, at Microsoft’s annual meeting, shareholders voted on a plan that would have caused the company to end its practice of giving directly to charities — including organizations that perform abortions and provide for abortion counseling.

While the proposal failed to win the support of a majority of shareholders, backers of the idea hope that the company will ultimately reverse course and stop promoting abortion through its giveaway program.

Microsoft’s charitable giving program donated nearly $40 million in cash and $207 million in software to more than 5,000 non-profit groups in 2002.

At the shareholders’ meeting, Scott Weinberg of the Population Research Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to debunking the myth that the world is overpopulated, read a statement which said, in part:

"Microsoft employees and shareholders represent a broad range of interests. It is truly impossible to be sensitive to the moral, religious, and cultural beliefs of so many people. Rather than compel our shareholders to support potentially controversial charitable groups, we should refrain from giving their money away for them. Let each person choose. The importance of individual choice is perhaps exceeded only by the importance of the life of each individual."

However, because opponents of the charitable giving program mentioned abortion and Planned Parenthood as examples of unacceptable charitable causes, Microsoft has countered that opponents are only objecting to "specific types" of charitable giving. Microsoft further claims Weinberg and others are only interested in eliminating charitable contributions to groups that support legal abortions.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, run a foundation that gave at least $2.8 million to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 2001. Microsoft officials have said they are proud of their corporate giving program, having donated $164,000 in cash and software to 36 Planned Parenthood centers in the financial year ending June 30. A company spokeswoman said the company also donates to pro-life groups, though no specific organizations were named.

"The tragedy of Bill Gates’ support of abortion and population control is that technology leads to development," said Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute.

"Unfortunately, the developing world will grow old before it develops because of population control. Gates, in supporting population control, is out of step with other great minds who have viewed people as humanity’s greatest resource," Mosher said.

According to Planned Parenthood of Western Washington, Microsoft matches employee grants to it and provides software and training.

"We don’t view that (shareholder) resolution as a real viable resolution or as a threat to non-profits generally or specifically," Planned Parenthood spokesman Robert Harkins said.

Despite the defeat of the resolution, the Population Research Institute says the campaign to persuade large corporations to disassociate from the abortion industry is gaining ground.

"We lost the vote, but we also lost the Berkshire-Hathaway vote last year, then, thanks to God and some Christian women involved with Pampered Chef, Warren Buffet stopped contributing to anti-life causes in the name of charity," Weinberg said.

"I read the resolution right in front of Gates, and I know he caught it. It’s going to be hard to break through his virtual reality, but we never give up, we never lose hope.

"If he wants to achieve greatness, he’s going to have to realize that there’s no competitive edge in promoting abortion, international population control, or other things that violate God and nature."

ACTION: Contact the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and urge it to stop supporting Planned Parenthood and abortion. Contact: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PO Box 23350, Seattle, WA 98102, (206) 709-3140, [email protected]