When conservative media cover billionaire investor George Soros’ support for abortion, it focuses mainly on the funding of Planned Parenthood.
However, other organizations of no less significance remain under the radar. Among them is the International Women’s Health Coalition, whose global reach makes it of interest for most pro-life organizations around the world.
Thanks to leaked documents from Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) posted on DCleaks.com in 2016, two major players emerged: International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) and Women’s Link Worldwide (WLW). The groups, funded by Soros OSF Women’s Rights Program (WRP), have been working in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. This article will cover only the first organization.
The leaked document, the Women’s Rights Program (WRP) Portfolio Review on 2014 grant making, is dated December 16, 2015. It reveals that IWHC received $1.35 million for three years starting in 2015. It also shows how the organization is building its strategy for 2016-2019, and talks about its ambitions, challenges, and opportunities.
The portfolio describes IWHC as “a 30-year-old international organization advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR),” a misnomer for abortion. Moreover, it gives IWHC credit for “playing a central role in mobilizing and supporting advocates from around the world (…) particularly during the major UN processes of the mid 1990s through the present day.” Specifically, IWHC engaged feminists for an International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994, coordinated by the United Nations.
The leaked document says “IWHC also provides long-term grants, and technical assistance and mentorship to women’s rights organizations”, and “gives advocacy grants to a set of ‘anchor’ organizations in key countries such as Brazil and India.” Although the portfolio does not articulate this directly, it is possible to deduce that those countries were identified as “key” because of their high populations.
IWHC is now lead by Françoise Girard, the former director of OSF’s Public Health Program. The portfolio states that within years she started “re-establishing the organization’s diminished credibility as a leading thinker and strategists (sic) in advancing sexual and reproductive rights globally.”
How did IWHC become a leading thinker and strategist? By ignoring and circumventing the law.
The organization was first established by radical feminist Merle S. Goldberg under the name the National Women’s Health Coalition. Goldberg worked with infamous abortionist Harvey Karman, who invented suction abortion devices still in use and marketed by the abortion group Ipas. Karman was jailed for killing a woman after performing abortion on her with a nutcracker.
In 1972, Karman, Goldberg and Kermit Gosnell, another abortionist, convicted of murdering babies in 2013, were involved with experimental and very dangerous “super coils” abortions that left many women with serious, even life-threatening, complications. The “super coils” were plastic razors, formed into a ball and coated into a gel, that were put into the woman’s uterus where they sprang open and cut up the unborn baby.
In the “Population and Reproductive Health Oral History Project” (2004), Adrienne Germain, who led IWHC until 2011, explained that the organization was initially owned by the Population Crisis Committee (now Population Action International) to provide hand-held vacuum aspiration kits. Ostensibly these kits are for menstrual regulation, a designation that allowed distribution of these kits, which can in fact be used for early vacuum abortion (p. 124). Their work started in Bangladesh, where abortion was illegal. The group’s aim was to establish an affiliate in as many countries as possible. In this interview, Germain brags about carrying so-called menstrual regulation kits in her suitcase to deliver them in countries with illegal abortion and talks about figuring out how to get past customs (p.132).
According to “Feminists and Neo-Malthusians: Past and Present Alliances” by Dennis Hudgson and Susan Cotts (1997) , IWHC “started with neo-Malthusian (advocacy of population control) money, (and) became the major source of support and training for third world providers of abortion. Soon it expanded its agenda and attempted to construct a firmer foundation for an alliance between feminists and neo-Malthusians (p.495).”
Hudgson and Cotts added that the IWHC’s aim was “to change state policy, particularly that of USAID, the Department of State, and the United Nations (p.31).”
Today, strategically located in New York, IWHC is still focused on work in the UN. It does it by developing leadership skills of international abortion activists ranging from Armenia to Hong Kong to Tunisia and France. They practice lobbying and hold mock UN sessions.
In 2015, the group trained 52 activists from Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe for 59th UN Commission on the Status of Women, spending $196,454. (s.8)
In 2016, the organization spent $151,420 for the participation of 32 activists from Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, who came for the 60th UN Commission on the Status of Women. (s.24)
Recently, IWHC boasted about funding a grantee partner to stop Poland’s pro-life bill. The group organized women’s protests that pressured the Parliament into killing the bill.
Such successful lobbying proves that IWHC can be very effective. The organization’s work should be closely watched by pro-life groups all over the world, particularly since they teach women how to induce medical abortion, and where to buy abortive drugs. It is possible that IWHC will receive even more funds after Soros announced an $18 billion contribution to OSF in October 2017.