Private Foundations Fueling Family-Planning Programs

Ford, Rockefeller, Packard, Gates -- the Who´s Who Behind Abortion-Group Support

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NEW YORK, NOV. 3, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Much publicity greeted the Bush administration´s decision to reinstate the "Mexico City policy" prohibiting federal funding for overseas promoters of abortion. But less much attention has been paid to the role of U.S. philanthropic foundations in financing population control.



The sums involved in this private-sector activity are considerable. According to a study by the Life Research Institute, published in Human Life Reports in August 2000, foundations in 1997 gave a total of $128.5 million for family planning. That broke down to $66.2 million for programs within the United States, $62.3 million abroad.

Foundation details

One of the biggest financiers of family planning is the Ford Foundation. According to its report on grants for the year 2000, a total of $88.5 million went to the category of human development and reproductive health. Much of that money went to groups well known for their promotion of abortion and contraceptives.

For example, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, received a grant of $1.5 million for work on "adolescent reproductive and sexual health." The Population Council received $5.8 million for programs in Egypt involving research and education in reproductive health.

The Ford Foundation also gives regular support to Catholics for a Free Choice, a group strongly criticized in a declaration by the U.S. bishops´ conference in May 2000 as "an arm of the abortion lobby in the United States and throughout the world." In 1999, the Ford Foundation gave money to the branches of Catholics for a Free Choice in Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico totaling almost $1 million.

Another well-known name, the Rockefeller Foundation, gives large sums to family planning. From 1992 to 1998 it gave a total of $75 million to research groups and private organizations for the development of contraceptives.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is another major financier of population control. In 1999 it gave $13.3 million to this area, $25.5 million the following year. The Mellon Foundation is a longtime backer of family planning.

According to a report posted on its Web site, beginning in 1977 the foundation´s population program expanded, with annual appropriations rising from roughly $4 million in the late 1970s to roughly $7 million in the 1980s. From 1977 to 1988 the foundation gave a total of $74 million to population programs, including $17.7 million to the Population Council.

The founder of CNN, Ted Turner, gained wide media coverage when he announced his decision to give $100 million a year for the next 10 years to the United Nations. Last March, Turner´s U.N. Foundation announced that $100 million, or 26% of the money given up to that date, had gone to the area of women and population.

Turner also has a separate foundation, the Turner Foundation, which regularly gives large sums in the area of population. In 1999 the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) Foundation received almost $3.3 million.

Computer firms´ support

Many of the newer foundations established by the billionaire founders of computer-related enterprises are enthusiastic supporters of family planning.

One of these is the Packard Foundation. A relative newcomer to this field, Packard has quickly become one of the biggest sources of funds from the private sector. The foundation´s five-year plan, starting in 1999, concentrates on a number of "focus countries": Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sudan. The foundation is also a strong supporter of abortion.

In 1998 the Packard Foundation gave a total of $51.7 million for population programs. That soared to $79 million the following year. Last year, no less than $122.7 million went to 128 grants in the population area.

Examples of last year´s grants include $2 million to Catholics for a Free Choice over three years for its activities in Latin America, with a further $655,000 to the Mexican branch. The NARAL Foundation was given no less than $10 million and the National Abortion Federation received $1.2 million. The Population Council, responsible for the introduction of the abortion pill RU-486 in the United States, received $3 million for "technology development in reproductive health." Three branches of Planned Parenthood in the United States received a total of almost $3 million.

Grants this year continue the same trend. According to an Oct. 22 press release from the Packard Foundation, the Population Program grants for the third quarter of 2001 total $21 million.

DKT International received $3 million for family planning programs in Ethiopia. NARAL received another multimillion-dollar grant, this time for $7.5 million. Several other bodies also received substantial amounts: Partners in Population and Development, $3 million; JSI Research & Training Institute Inc., $2 million. Planned Parenthood´s Alan Guttmacher Institute was awarded $1 million.

The foundation started by the other half of Hewlett Packard, the Hewlett Foundation, is also a major backer of population control. In 1999 it made a total of 64 grants in the area of population totaling $28.3 million. Among the 1999 grants: $1.85 million for Planned Parenthood and $1.5 million for the Guttmacher Institute. The Population Council received $3.5 million.

Last year, the foundation upped its support for population grants to $32.1 million. Several international branches of the International Planned Parenthood Foundation received a total of $2.2 million, while the U.S. branches were given $1.5 million. Another $3.7 million was given to a number of organizations for the development of contraceptives.

The organization established by the founder of Microsoft, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is also a supporter of family planning. In 1999 the Planned Parenthood Foundation of America received $5 million, with another $4.6 million going to International Planned Parenthood Federation activities. A Mexican family-planning group received $2.5 million, the Guttmacher Institute $2 million.

Many smaller foundations regularly award $1 million or $2 million annually to population control programs.

Family planning is not the only activity of these foundations; they support a wide variety of many worthy causes. Yet, in the area of population the foundations almost unreservedly espouse the outdated pessimism of the "population bomb" thesis.

The developed nations have no need of population control; in fact, their main demographic problem is a lack of children. The problems facing the Third World nations, meanwhile, have more to do with inequitable distribution of resources than with burgeoning populations.