Reprinted from the National Catholic Register

WASHINGTON—U.S. private foundations are contributing huge sums to promote abortion and contraception, according to a recently completed Register survey of foundation tax returns and annual reports.

Directors of the foundations involved include pollster George Gallup Sr.; labour leaders Lane Kirkland and Glenn Watts; Time magazine consultant (and former editor) Hedley Donovan; civil rights leader Vernon Jordan Jr.; and Congressional Budget Office director Alice Rivlin.

The Register survey – based mainly on records at the Foundation Center Library here – revealed that 159 foundations gave $36.2 million in fiscal year 1982 to population studies, population control and teenage pregnancy programs.

The largest spenders were the Ford Foundation ($10.2 million); Andrew W. Mellon  ($7.3 million); and Rockefeller Foundation ($5.2 million).  Their money went largely for the development of contraceptives and of such abortifacients as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and anti-pregnancy vaccines.

Other foundations contributed large amounts to groups like the Pathfinder Fund and the Population Crisis Committee, which promote abortion abroad; the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Reproductive Freedom Project, which conducts pro-abortion litigation in the United States; and the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights and Catholics for a Free Choice, which work to keep abortion legal and to obtain public funding for it.  Frances Kissling, executive director of Catholics for a Free Choice, told the Register in a Dec. 22 interview, “We’re, I would say, about 80 percent foundation-financed.”

George Gallup Sr. is board chairman of the Gallup Organization, which conducts the Gallup Poll.  Since at least 1976, he has been a director for the New York-based Scherman Foundation, which gives large sums to groups that promote abortion, sterilization and contraception.  In 1982 alone Scherman gave a quarter of a million dollars to population groups – including grants to the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, Catholics for a Free Choice, the Pathfinder Fund, the Population Crisis Committee, and the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights Educational Fund.

Asked by the Register whether his service on the Scherman Foundation might cast doubt on the objectivity of Gallup polls on abortion, Gallup said on Dec. 22 that he did not see why it would, “because I have only one voice out of eight…so no matter what I thought, it wouldn’t make a difference, would it?”  Of Scherman funds going to the abortion area, he said, “I didn’t know that much went to it.”  Asked about his views on abortion, Gallup commented: “I don’t have any.  I have to be like Caesar’s wife, you know – above suspicion.”  The Scherman board meets four times a year, but Gallup said, “I usually get there once a year, so I’m not as familiar with it as I should be.”

Foundation promotion of abortion takes many forms, including payments to abortion clinics and donations to groups that work in the political arena.  A few examples from fiscal 1982:

  • The Sunnen Foundation, a Missouri group that for years has supported abortion, gave $80,578 to a tax-exempt St. Louis abortion clinic called Reproductive Health Services. Sunnen also gave $63,500 to Catholics for a Free Choice and $93,000 to several affiliates of Planned Parenthood. It contributed $25,000 for litigation of the Abortion Rights Mobilization. The purpose of the litigation was not specified in Sunnen’s tax return, but in 1982 the Abortion Rights Mobilization was in court trying to end the tax-exempt status of some or all Catholic Church entities in the United States.
  • The California-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation contributed more than $300,000 to population groups in 1982, including $15,000 to Planned Parenthood of Monterey County for “start-up costs of providing abortion services.” Packard gave almost as much to Family Planning Alternatives of Sunnyvale, California, a tax-exempt abortion clinic that also advertises prenatal care and “birthing services,” (In 1979 Business Week reported that many abortion clinics were diversifying their services to include obstetrics, birth control and sex counseling and that “this diversification helps them turn a tidy profit and protects them against financial disaster should the right to life movement succeed in barring legal abortion.”)
  • Foundations gave more than $6 million to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, its local affiliates and its research affiliate (the Alan Guttmacher Institute). Planned Parenthood lobbies to keep abortion legal and to secure public funds for it. Many of its foundation-supported affiliates provide abortions in their clinics. (The Register survey identified foundation grants to Planned Parenthood groups totaling $6.8 million, but this is a conservative figure, since the survey did not cover all foundations. Also many foundations contribute heavily to United Way drives; many United Way affiliates, in turn, contribute to Planned Parenthood. United Way donations were not covered by the Register survey).
  • Foundations contributed at least $169,000 to the ACLU and its affiliates for abortion of “reproductive freedom” litigation. This figure is also conservative, since many foundations list large contributions to the ACLU without noting the purpose for which their money is to be used.
  • Foundations contributed at least $301,000 to the Population Crisis Committee (PCC). This group has funded early abortion (“menstrual regulation”) projects in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines and Thailand. According to their Washington embassies, abortion is illegal in Indonesia, Nigeria and the Philippines. A PCC spokeswoman told the Register on Dec. 29 that the menstrual regulation programs are still in operation in Bangladesh and Indonesia. Asked whether PCC had addressed the question of legality, she said that it had not and that “we are simply funding projects at the request of local individuals.”
  • Foundations gave at least $215,553 to the Pathfinder Fund. Grants to Pathfinder from the Scherman Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America and the George Gund Foundation were earmarked for abortion of “menstrual regulation” training programs in Bangladesh. A 1982 direct-mail fundraising letter of the Pathfinder Fund declared: “Bangladesh is collapsing under the weight of too many people. Unless the birth rate is dramatically reduced, the country may sink into complete chaos.”

After explaining Pathfinder’s abortion and contraception programs, the letter declared that “Bangladesh can become a symbol of victory for population control in the Third World.”

The Population Council, founded by John D. Rockefeller III and based in New York, appears to be the largest beneficiary of foundation giving in the population field.  The council’s 1982 annual report said that its budget had averaged about $15 million for several years.  The Register survey showed that foundations – primarily Ford, Mellon and Rockefeller – provided $9.3 million of the council’s budget in fiscal 1982.  The Population Council develops contraceptives and abortifacients; it tries to curb population growth in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Foundation tax returns for 1983 will not be available until later this year.  But preliminary reports indicate that foundation spending on population control remained high in 1983.  A Foundation Center publication reported large grants to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Population Council and many others.

The Top 12 Foundations

The foundations listed below spent the largest amounts in the population field in fiscal year, 1982.  In all but three of the 12 cases, the foundation’s fiscal year coincided with the calendar year.  The Ford and Longwood foundations fiscal year was Oct. 1, 1981

Sept. 30, 1982.  The Harry G. Steele Foundation’s fiscal year was Nov. 1, 1981-Oct 31, 1982. (Note: the Ford total includes one low-interest loan of $1.5 million, all other figures are direct grants.)

Ford (New York) $10.2 Million.  Prominent directors or trustees – Hedley Donovan, Alexander Heard, Robert S. McNamara, Glenn E. Watts, A. Bartlett Glamatti (newly appointed).  Focus – Development of contraceptives and abortifacients; population control abroad.

Andrew W. Mellon (New York) $7.3 million.  Prominent directors or trustees – Hanna Holborn Gray, Paul Mellon, Arjay Miller.  Focus – training population scientists; development of contraceptives and abortifacients.

Rockefeller (New York) $5.2 million.  Prominent directors or trustees – W. Michael Blumenthal, Harold Brown, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Lane Kirkland, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alice M. Rivlin.  Focus – Development of contraceptives and abortifacients; population control abroad.

William & Flora Hewlett $2.2 million.  Prominent director or trustee – Roger W. Heyns.  Focus – Population control abroad.

Jessie Smith Noyes (New York) $769,721.  Focus – Teenage pregnancy.

George Gund (Ohio) $561,586.  Focus – promotion of abortion.

Harry G. Steele (California) $504,100.  Focus – support of Planned Parenthood.

Longwood (Delaware) $400,000.  Prominent directors or trustees – du Pont Family members.  Focus – Support of Planned Parenthood.

Sunnen (Missouri) $377,178.  Focus – support of pro-abortion religious groups.

Charles Stewart Mott (Michigan) $368,384.  Focus – Teenage pregnancy.  (Note:  Programs that appeared to have no family planning component were not included in the total.)

Pew Memorial Trust (Pennsylvania) $365.000.  Focus – support of Planned Parenthood.

Huber (New Jersey) $341.000.  Focus – Promotion of abortion: support of Planned Parenthood.

Other foundations that gave $100,000 or more to population groups included: Ahmanson (California); Mary Reynolds Babcock, (North Carolina); Brush (Ohio); Commonwealth Fund (New York); Compton (New York); S.H. Grant (New York); Henry J. Kaiser Family (California); Lily Endowment Corp. (Indiana); McAshan Educational & Charitable Trust (Texas); New York Community Trust (New York); David & Lucile Packard (California); William Penn (Pennsylvania); Piton (Colorado); Scherman (New York); Surdna (New York).

Sources: 1982 tax returns and annual reports; 1983 Foundation Directory (9th ed.);  1982-83 Who’s Who in America.