By Patrick B. Craine

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 8, 2010 ( – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has called on global leaders to make maternal and child health care in the developing world a top priority. The Foundation announced that it investing $1.5 billion to this cause over the next 5years.  While the Gates have not clearly indicated whether or not they will fund abortions or abortion advocacy, one of their top priorities will be “family planning.”

Melinda Gates, who serves as the foundation’s co-chair, made the announcement Monday at the Women Deliver 2010 conference in Washington, D.C., a gathering of global leaders, health experts, and activists who are largely pro-abortion and pro-contraception.

“The world must come together to save women’s and children’s lives,” said Gates. “In poor countries, pregnancy and childbirth often end in tragedy. Our goal must be to build a world where every birth brings joy and hope for the future.”

Gates emphasized that the upcoming months are key, noting that Canada has challenged developed countries to step up their efforts for maternal and child health as president of this month’s G8 summit in Muskoka, Ontario.

“This is a pivotal moment for women’s and children’s health,” she said. “Canada is proposing a bold but achievable plan that can save countless lives – and I hope all G8 members will lend their strong support. The need is urgent and clear.”

The foundation’s funds will be directed to 3 priority areas: “family planning,” health care for pregnant women, newborns, and children, and nutrition.  In a press release, the foundation lists a variety of focus projects, including: training front-line health workers, and developing interventions such as simpler antibiotics for newborn infections and cheaper remedies for post-partum hemorrhage.  But the foundation also wants to develop strategies for spreading “family planning” services in poor urban areas.

Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute, commented to LifeSiteNews (LSN) that while the Gates Foundation has some good projects, there is also “clearly a push for population control.”   He noted that “family planning” programs, such as those long advanced by the Gates, are “just population control in a new guise.”

Founded in 1994, the Gates Foundation has given millions of dollars over the years to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the largest abortion provider in the world.  They have likewise given millions to the United Nations Population Fund, which Mosher has exposed as being a direct participant in China’s coercive one-child policy.

Melinda Gates told NPR Monday that in her experience many women in the developing world are “begging” for contraceptives.  “I actually think the biggest barrier is sometimes the American public,” she said.  “The way we think about reproductive rights is pretty different than the European women do or the women I meet in Africa and even the governments in Africa.”

“We make it a big debate, and it really shouldn't be,” she said.

But Mosher rebuffed Gates’ claim by pointing to numerous surveys conducted by his organization in such countries as Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Mexico.  He said these surveys show that “women in the developing world prefer almost any kind of health care to ‘reproductive health care,’” and that they “want things like clean drinking water and better sanitation above all.”

“I think that they are telling her what she wants to hear,” he continued.  “I am sure these visits are stage-managed by her staff to produce the kinds of scripted comments that make their funding choices appear to be a response to local needs.”

Regarding “family planning” initiatives, Mosher insisted that “we are not talking about voluntary programs, for all the rhetoric to the contrary.  We are talking about access to health care being conditioned on accepting birth control pills.  About agents of the state asking women if they are willing to take birth control pills or would they rather be sterilized.”

“It is about giving out ‘free’ packs of oral rehydration salt (for dysentery) to women in exchange for accepting depo-provera,” he added.  “It is about threats, and bribes, and sanctions, not ‘voluntarism.’”

NPR also noted that Gates tried to avoid discussing abortion when she made the announcement.  “We don't want to be part of the controversy or stem that controversy,” she said.

“Hopefully, Mrs. Gates will move the foundation away from its past funding of abortion advocacy,” Mosher commented, “but the jury is still out on that score.”

LifeSiteNews contacted the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation but they declined an interview.

Contact Information:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
PO Box 23350
Seattle, WA 98102
Phone: (206) 709-3100
E-mail: [email protected]

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