Buffett Billions for Abortion

  • Public-Policy Reform
  • 1964

The biographer of billionaire investor and donor Warren Buffett describes him as having “a Malthusian dread” of population growth among the poor. In 1964 he set up an Omaha foundation centered on stopping that growth, both domestically and abroad, and to this day, the New York Times summarizes, “most of the foundation’s spending goes to abortion and contraception.” Buffett and his first wife put several billion dollars into the foundation, making it the third largest in the country as of 2015. He heads it along with his children, and both its domestic and international programs are directed by veteran abortion activists. (For other causes, Buffett channels his money through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.)

Buffett has put time and energy as well as money into this issue. He and his investment partner and fellow donor Charlie Munger were quite involved in People v. Belous, a 1969 case paving the way for abortion in California on privacy grounds, which was cited during the Roe v. Wade debate. After abortion was allowed in California but still illegal in most states, Buffet and Munger set up a “church” which they dubbed the “Ecumenical Fellowship,” and used it as a kind of underground railroad to transport women to Los Angeles and other cities for quick abortions. The Buffett Foundation has even promoted the partial-birth method of abortion (in which a later-term child is partially delivered but dismembered before emerging from the birth canal). The foundation financed early lawsuits and legal work to overturn bans on partial-birth abortion. These went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before a federal ban ultimately was upheld.

After examining his foundation’s IRS filings, the Media Research Center reported that Buffett’s grants to abortion groups just from 1989 to 2012 (with the tax returns from 1997 to 2000 missing) totaled at least $1.3 billion. And the Buffett Foundation’s spending in this area was accelerating rapidly as the 2000s unfolded. Beneficiaries of Buffett’s giving include Planned Parenthood ($300 million), NARAL, National Abortion Federation, Catholics for a Free Choice, Abortion Access Project, Population Council, Marie Stopes International, Center for Reproductive Rights, and dozens of other such advocates.

Buffett Foundation donations were instrumental in creating the abortion drug RU-486 and pushing it through clinical trials. The family foundation has funded many programs that teach clinicians how to perform abortions. And it has given hundreds of millions of dollars—more than any other foundation in existence—to groups providing contraception, sterilization, and abortion to poor women overseas.