Organization Trends

Gynuity’s Abortion Experiments in Africa Funded by Philanthropy and “Dark Money”


It’s like a scene ripped from a horror film.

Pregnant women in poor African countries are subjects in a trial of an experimental drugs meant to induce abortion as late as in the second trimester (13–28 weeks), the period when fetuses develop hair, begin to hear, and may even learn to suck their thumbs and yawn. By the end of the second trimester, a typical fetus measures 13 to 16 inches, weighs 2 to 3 pounds, and has fully functioning organs, fingernails and toenails, and fingerprints.

The experiment’s subjects are given repeat doses of the drug “every three hours” to induce the “complete evacuation of fetus and placenta . . . within 24 hours.” Children are also eligible for the study, and it only stopped recruiting in December.

And it’s all funded by American philanthropy, leftist “dark money,” and even your tax dollars.

What Is Gynuity Health Projects?

The experimental drug is called misoprostol. To date, it has been used to end pregnancies before the 10-week mark. Once taken, the drug induces a miscarriage. “Excessive bleeding” is a common side effect, according to a RealClearInvestigations report, requiring large quantities of blood bags to avoid lethal hemorrhaging.

Overseas clinical trials to expand misoprostol to second trimester pregnancies are run by Gynuity Health Projects (also called Gynuity Institute), a New York-based group that describes its mission as providing “access to safe and effective reproductive and maternal health care.”

Gynuity’s goal is to deliver its abortion drugs through the mail, a service it calls TelAbortion. The group brags that to date it has induced 3.5 million abortions across the United States. Georgia banned the practice last year for fetuses with a detectable heartbeat.

Because second-trimester “telabortions” haven’t been FDA-approved, Gynuity outsourced studies of the “chemical coat hanger”—as critics call it—to Burkina Faso, a small, landlocked country of 20 million people in west Africa.

Burkina Faso is utterly destitute. According to the World Bank, its GDP per capita (economic output per person) is just $715, compared with nearly $63,000 in the United States. Almost 44 percent of its people were living at or under the global poverty rate ($1.90 per day) in 2014. Life expectancy is under 61 years.

Sadly, Gynuity’s human experimentation isn’t limited to Africa. It has conducted similar clinical trials in Armenia, Nepal, Vietnam, Moldova, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine—all poor countries.

So who’s behind it?

Abortion as “Philanthropy”

Gynuity’s website reports funding from the Population Council (a population control group) and Planned Parenthood. (Beverly Winikoff, a Gynuity co-founder and board member, was a Population Council staffer for 25 years.)

Gynuity’s research has also received your tax dollars. In 2012, the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services awarded Gynuity a $368,000 grant for research into “misoprostol for treatment of fetal death at 14–28 weeks.”

In 2017, Gynuity received $288,000 from the Hopewell Fund, the abortion advocacy arm of the $635 million “dark money” empire run by Arabella Advisors in Washington, DC. It was given another $217,000 in 2017 from the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, a little-known “dark money” donor that I’ve documented here.

See our investigation into Arabella’s activist network at DarkMoneyATM.

Gynuity was given tax-deductible status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2018, so its IRS Form 990 filings aren’t yet available. Yet past grants from major left-wing foundations show that Gynuity has operated as a for-profit entity for years.

Between 2003 and 2017, Gynuity LLC raked in $74 million in donations from five foundations, most of it in the past seven years (see the full list at InfluenceWatch):

Gynuity’s two biggest funders—the Gates and Buffett Foundations—are among the largest supporters of abortion advocacy and research globally. As I’ve recently written, the Gates Foundation—personal philanthropy of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda—is the biggest donor of Pathfinder International, granting $63 million since 1999. Pathfinder pushes “family planning” (a euphemism for abortion access) on African countries. Gates is also the largest nongovernmental group funding Family Planning 2020 ($127 million since 2012), a UN campaign to abort the Third World.

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation is another pillar behind philanthropy’s global war on the poor. It’s named for Warren Buffett’s late wife, whose estate granted the foundation $2.5 billion after her death in 2004. Since then, it’s become perhaps the single largest funder of abortion activism—granting perhaps as much as $1.23 billion to pro-abortion groups, such as Planned Parenthood from 2001 to 2012.

There’s a direct connection between these misanthropic mega-funders and Gynuity’s human experimentation. Grant descriptions indicate that much of the money was intended to fund Gynuity’s research into misoprostol, such as one from the Gates Foundation “to evaluate misoprostol effectiveness for prevention of postpartum hemorrhage at the community level.”

Increased Scrutiny

Gynuity quietly began its experiments in 2017, but they’re no longer working in the dark. American pro-life and religious groups began reporting on the organization late last year, sparking extra scrutiny of mail-in abortifacients. Time will tell what they’ll yield.

Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is an Investigative Researcher at Capital Research Center. He is a native of Orange County, California, and holds a Master’s of Public Policy from George Mason University.
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