- (Photo: Reuters)
Philanthropist Melinda Gates revealed that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the most charitable private foundations in the world, does not fund abortion.
"I understand why there is so much emotion, but conflating these issues will slow down progress for tens of millions of women. That is why when I get asked about my views on abortion, I say that, like everyone, I struggle with the issue, but I've decided not to engage on it publicly – and the Gates Foundation has decided not to fund abortion," Gates wrote earlier this week, reflecting on a recent overseas trip.
Gates, who has worked on projects helping girls and women receive access to the health care they need, noted that during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Toronto, journalists heavily focused on Canada's abortion policy, which is one of the few in the world that places virtually no limits on the practice.
"Around the world there is a deep, broad, and powerful consensus: We should provide all women the information and tools to time and space their pregnancies in a safe and healthy way that works for them. This approach is simple, it works, and it saves lives," she wrote.
"The question of abortion should be dealt with separately. But in the United States and around the world the emotional and personal debate about abortion is threatening to get in the way of the lifesaving consensus regarding basic family planning."
Gates' comments where criticized in a few pro-abortion commentaries, such as an article in The Daily Beast on Thursday that asked her to "stop stigmatizing abortion."
"These are preventable deaths, deaths suffered by women and communities the Gates Foundation desperately wants to help and could help – if Bill and Melinda Gates were willing to be part of solution in supporting practical access to safe abortion services, rather than part of the problem by perpetuating stigma and leaving only dangerous alternatives to prevail," the article states.
Back in March, Bill Gates, who earlier this year regained his spot as the richest man in the world, said that his family goes to a Catholic church and that religious morality inspires a lot of their charity work.
"The moral systems of religion, I think, are super important. We've raised our kids in a religious way; they've gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in. I've been very lucky, and therefore I owe it to try and reduce the inequity in the world. And that's kind of a religious belief. I mean, it's at least a moral belief," the Microsoft founder says in an interview with Rolling Stone.
The Gates Foundation, founded in 2000, has donated money and established programs for various causes around the world.
Its initiatives include a Global Health Division aimed at advancing science and technology to save lives in developing countries, a Global Developments programs on agriculture, water and sanitation; financial services for the poor, and education programs in the U.S., to name a few.
In a separate interview in March, Melinda Gates talked about her Roman Catholic faith and how it corresponds to funding contraceptives in the global fight against AIDS.
"Even though I am Catholic I believe in contraceptives, just like the majority of Catholic women in the United States who report using contraceptives, and I shouldn't let that controversy be the thing that holds us back," Gates said.