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Bill and Melinda Gates: People of the Year?

Commentary by by Amber Dolle, American Life League media director

Behind every good man is a good woman. How many times have we heard that age-old saying? Sure, some women who still believe that our gender is being suppressed by men might hear that quip and immediately think: discrimination. I, however ? as a woman ? do not take offense in the least. I hear that quote and immediately think that when it comes to their husbands, women have quite a bit of power to influence a man's decisions. That being said, I wonder just how much influence Melinda Gates, wife of the world's richest man, Microsoft's Bill Gates, wields when it comes to allocating the millions of dollars she and her husband give to "charity" every year. I question this because Bill and Melinda's foundation has given millions to some of the most anti-woman, anti-child, anti-family organizations in existence.

The Gateses once again made headlines after Time magazine announced its "People of the Year" earlier this week, giving the honors to Bill and Melinda, along with U2 front man Bono.

Bill and Melinda Gates are co-chairs of a foundation which is "committed to promoting greater equity in global health, education, public libraries and support for at-risk families." Because of this, I have to believe that the Gateses have their hearts in the right place. However, their good works are completely contradicted by the fact that they support, promote and fund organizations that endanger people's lives.

Some of the foundation's grant recipients include the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Alan Guttmacher Institute, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Health Organization. The common thread in all of these organizations is that they promote the killing of children through abortion and the perpetuation of unhealthy and immoral lifestyles by pushing contraception on every living human person.

Sure, many people the world over see nothing wrong with contraception or even abortion. We would like to think that such people don't believe in God or at the least, are not regular church goers. Not so. Unfortunately, many churches today even endorse such evils. However, there are some churches, namely the Catholic Church, that have stood up for the rights of the preborn and have called contraception, especially abortifacient contraception, wrong. So, one would surmise that anyone who identifies herself as a Catholic would not support such things.

Wrong again.

Melinda Gates is a professed Catholic, yet she aids in funding these groups that want nothing more than to harm the Catholic Church and suppress its teachings. So, while some might plead ignorance when confronted about supporting such groups, Melinda should know better. The church of which she claims membership consistently teaches that abortion and contraception are evil and should not be endorsed.

Sure, the Gateses give health grants, but even some of those have their flaws. For example, the campaign focused on AIDS seems to put more emphasis on a vaccine rather than tackling behavioral changes. Human behavior is the root of this pandemic, yet those who work to put an end to AIDS rarely focus on a true way to help this tragedy: abstinence outside marriage.

Melinda Gates has a tremendous opportunity to make a difference by supporting real pro-family organizations rather than those who support the killing of children. In 2005 alone, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave a $3 million grant to the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Why then, does a professed Catholic, choose to support a group that facilitates the killing of innocent preborn children? I don't have the answer to that question. I guess we should ask Melinda.

In 2006, I would only hope that Melinda would use her potent powers of persuasion to move her husband to support organizations that truly help vulnerable persons and populations rather than hurt them. The Gateses have been blessed beyond belief and they should use those blessings to help spread a culture of life. After all, it makes economic sense. When more babies are born, it amounts to more potential Microsoft customers who can add to the Gates fortune.

So, from one Catholic woman to another, I beseech Melinda to be the "good woman" behind her man and take a long hard look at the organizations she helps to fund. Killing preborn children, pushing contraception and condoning unhealthy, immoral lifestyles are diametrically opposed to her faith. The bottom line is that many of the groups the Gateses support hurt people ? not help them. I hope that in 2006 Melinda returns to the code of the Catholic Church and works only to protect those innocent souls who are at risk of being lost by the very organizations she supports.