The Packard Foundation, declining live births and the abortion pill

Collin Anderson:

Roughly a decade before his death in 1996, tech titan David Packard issued a controversial directive to his children. Skyrocketing birth rates, the Hewlett-Packard cofounder wrote, could one day cause “utter chaos for humanity.” As a result, Packard asserted, his multibillion-dollar foundation must hold one priority above all others: population control.

Packard—a Republican who served as deputy secretary of defense under President Richard Nixon—did not see eye to eye politically with his three daughters, one of whom succeeded him as chair of his foundation following his death. His liberal offspring took the billionaire’s desire to curb population growth as a jumping off point. While the foundation is unbound legally to honor Packard’s policy wishes, they found a way to embrace his views and pursue their own liberal activism—through expanded abortion access, a mission toward which they devoted nearly $350 million in the last five years alone, according to a review of the foundation’s financial disclosures.

Those expenditures have allowed Packard’s successors to deliver significant victories in furthering the late billionaire’s anti-natalist agenda. Take, for example, the Food and Drug Administration’s December decision to ease the process for getting a chemical abortion pill. The Packard Foundation played a central role in the deregulation fight, funneling millions to liberal advocacy groups that spearheaded the legal and political push to remove the FDA’s abortion pill barriers. The foundation meanwhile invested millions of dollars into GenBioPro, the only company that makes a generic form of the abortion drug.

In 2017, the Packard Foundation gave$1,000,000 to the Reproductive Freedom Project, a division of the American Civil Liberties Union that works to “ensure that all in our society have access to” abortion. That year, Reproductive Freedom Project attorneys suedthe FDA to challenge its abortion pill restrictions, which required patients to receive abortion pills in person from specialty clinics.

Months later, in 2018, the foundation invested$500,000 in GenBioPro. The Nevada-based private company makes the generic form of mifepristone, an oral drug used to cause an abortion. It invested an additional $1.5 million in GenBioPro in 2019, the same year the company’s generic abortion pill received FDA approval and hit the market.

Notes and links on abortion and declining live births.