Dear Ms. Gates,
We are writing to you from all over the world. We are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
We are students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, farmers, laborers, parliamentarians and policy makers, rich, poor and middle class. We are people from all walks of life.
We are deeply concerned with your upcoming Family Planning Summit. The Gates Foundation’s primary partners are NGOs and governments that engage in abortion and population control campaigns. The Summit’s purpose is to launch a global campaign to pressure governments to encourage women to view children as burdens and expendable.
First, we understand that participation in the summit is limited only to those who agitate for more funding for family planning. We wonder if you will dialogue with those who may have another vision?
You say women around the world tell you they want contraception. Perhaps that is because the people surrounding you are devoted to contraception and abortion. Your summit is organized by — and limited to — pro-abortion and population control advocates.
Second, we understand that the International Planned Parenthood Federation is mobilizing civil society participation. You said specifically in your TED speech that this initiative would have nothing to do with abortion. We wonder how this can be when your main partner is the world’s biggest abortion provider?
Third, we fear that such a global effort will inevitably lead to abuses. Whenever governments and NGOs get together to encourage poor women to use contraceptives, the result is often coercion and abuse. In fact, your partners for the Summit — the United Kingdom’s DFID, IPPF and UNFPA — have all been implicated in abuses against women related to family planning.
Will you hear the voices of women and men who love and want children, or those who have been victims of contraception, abortion and population control campaigns? Will you invite discussion on the consequences of not having, or having too few children? Will you equal or surpass this Summit with support for healthy child-birth programs?
We urge you to re-consider the Family Planning Summit.
We urge you to consider that this mission is fraught with danger and may not be what the women of the world really need.
We urge you to listen to the voices of we hundreds of thousands!
You can sign the letter at http://2-melinda-gates.org/