Gates Foundation Conference Has Six Pro-Abortion ‘Roundtables’

By Penny Starr | November 26, 2013 | 2:33pm EST

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

( – In a May 2012 article in Newsweek, Melinda Gates stated that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s international family planning efforts do not fund abortion.

“From the very beginning, we said that as a foundation we will not support abortion, because we don’t believe in funding it,” Gates said in the article ahead of a July summit in London to raise $4 billion to provide contraceptives to 120 million women around the world by 2020.

But last month at the foundation’s third international family planning conference – this time is Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – six “roundtable” sessions promoted the practice.

At the Nov. 12-15 conference, the following sessions were held:

• Integrating Efforts to Improve Access to Safe Abortion with Expanding Access to Family Planning, Ibis Reproductive Health

• Saving Lives and Respecting Rights Through Implementation of the WHO Safe Abortion, Ipas

• Abortion and Public Policy in Africa, SAYWHAT

• Woman-Centered, Comprehensive Abortion Care, Ipas

• The Stigma Surrounding Abortion, Ipas

• New Energy for Post-abortion Family Planning, PAC Connection

The Newsweek article also referenced Gates’ “Catholic faith.”

“Perhaps more importantly, there’s her Catholic faith, which has always informed her work,” the article stated. ‘From the very beginning, we said that as a foundation we will not support abortion, because we don’t believe in funding it,’ she said.

“She’s long disagreed with the church’s position on contraception, and the Gates Foundation did some family-planning funding early in its history,” the article stated. “Still, she went through a lot of soul-searching before she was ready to champion the issue publicly.

“‘I had to wrestle with which pieces of religion do I use and believe in my life, what would I counsel my daughters to do,’ she says.”

“Defying church teachings was difficult, she adds, but also came to seem morally necessary,” the article states. “Otherwise, she says, ‘we’re not serving the other piece of the Catholic mission, which is social justice.’”

Gates, however, has been criticized by fellow Catholics, including Francis Phillips, who wrote a commentary on Melinda Gates family planning mission for the U.K.’s Catholic Herald on April 26, 2012.

“It is always a disappointment when a public figure of great wealth, standing or power explains that although they are loyal Catholics they think Church teaching is wrong – predictably on moral matters,” Phillips wrote. “It often seems to happen in America.

“The Kennedy clan led the way, followed by prominent figures like Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives, and Kathleen Sebelius, current Secretary for Health and Human Services, who is ‘staunchly pro-choice’ – and who has been publicly reprimanded by Cardinal Raymond Burke,” Phillips wrote.

The foundation’s assets total more than $40 billion, according to its fact sheet posted on the foundation’s website.

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