There have been hundreds of news stories in the last week about Melinda Gates’ claim that the Gates Foundation will not fund abortions. Predictably, mainstream media news outlets picked up and ran uncritical pieces essentially toeing the party line.
Unfortunately, some of the top pro-life-friendly news outlets also ran with the story with headlines and articles that made it appear some sea change was happening at a foundation that single-handedly has bankrolled the abortion industry for years.
Time will tell if the Gates Foundation will truly disassociate itself from the abortion industry, but, at this moment, Melinda’s Gates’ promise to stop funding abortions looks disingenuous.
LifeNews has already reported on the claim and the response from Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International, who called the statement “outright deception.” We also profiled the Gates Foundation’s previous funding of the abortion industry.
However, LiveAction has a more detailed snapshot of the funding:
According to the Gates Foundation grant database, the Foundation gave Planned Parenthood of America, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Planned Parenthood of Western Washington about $71 million from before 2009 through 2013. Additionally, the Gates Foundation gave $46.1 million to Marie Stopes International in 2012 alone.
Much of this giving is focused on Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where abortion-providers like Planned Parenthood, Marie Stopes, and Ipas seek to overturn pro-life laws and sometimes even provide illicit abortion drugs.
While Gates Foundation funds cannot be earmarked for abortion, the fungibility of money makes it easier for these organizations to provide abortion internationally. In other words, every dollar the Gates Foundation gives to Planned Parenthood for distributing birth control or building an abortion-friendly clinic frees up a dollar in Planned Parenthood’s budget to spend elsewhere.
If aid is fungible, it simply does not matter what donors finance. They may end up financing, at the margin, very different and perhaps undesirable activities. When the recipients of these funds are the world’s leading abortion providers, it’s not hard to figure out where newly freed money in their budgets will go.
The Gates family has long been intertwined with Planned Parenthood. In a 2003 interview with Bill Moyers, Bill Gates recalled, “When I was growing up, my parents were almost involved in various volunteer things. My dad was head of Planned Parenthood. And it was very controversial to be involved with that. And so it’s fascinating. At the dinner table my parents are very good at sharing the things that they were doing. And almost treating us like adults, talking about that.”
Moreover, this isn’t the first time Melinda Gates has promised to stop funding abortions — doing so at the same time the Gates Foundation was sending a vast fortune to the biggest abortion businesses in the world.
This is not the first time Melinda Gates has eschewed the Foundation’s links to abortion in the media. In a 2012 interview with Newsweek, she declared that “From the very beginning, we said that as a foundation we will not support abortion, because we don’t believe in funding it.” At that time she branded her global health initiative “No Controversy,” assuring pledge-givers that “This is not about abortion.”
The most likely conclusion is the is just the latest attempt by Melinda Gates to deflect attention away from its bankrolling the worldwide abortion industry.