Family Planning 2020 stays relatively quiet on abortion, but its partners and the members of its steering groups fill the silence.
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2021 (C-Fam) — Melinda Gates’ Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) coalition celebrated the progress they say they’ve made since its debut in 2012 and announced a new, updated partnership for the next ten years they are calling FP2030. Beneath the festive veneer, the awkward fact remains that FP2020 has fallen well short of its goals. What’s more, despite the partnership’s attempts to maintain neutrality, several participants used the event to promote abortion.
FP2020 was launched at a summit in London, sponsored by Melinda Gates, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the government of the UK. Earlier that year, Gates announced that she wanted to make family planning her signature area of philanthropy, while stressing she wanted “no controversy” related to abortion or population control. “There’s a global movement waiting to happen,” she said.
However, there was already a global family planning movement, and its leaders were not interested in setting abortion to the side. Gates’ #nocontroversy hashtag quickly fell into disuse, and where FP2020 stayed relatively quiet on abortion, its partners and members of its steering groups filled the silence.
Speaking on a panel at the FP2020 event, Alvaro Bermejo, director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), said “the partnership has really made SRHR [sexual and reproductive health and rights] advocacy issues more effective” by bringing donors and implementing organizations together and creating accountability for governments. FP2020 executive director Beth Schlachter agreed, echoing his support for “family planning and SRHR more broadly.”
SRHR remains a highly controversial concept which has been rejected by the UN General Assembly for decades due to its associations with abortion, comprehensive sexuality education, and sexual orientation and gender identity.