Melinda French Gates on abortion pill decision: Fight ‘far from over’

June 13, 2024

Melinda French Gates welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday upholding access to the abortion medication mifepristone, but noted that it marks only a minor victory in the greater fight for reproductive rights.

French Gates, a philanthropist and the ex-wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, is a major reproductive rights advocate and committed $1 billion to women’s causes last month.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision is welcome news, but the fight for reproductive rights is far from over,” she wrote on the social media platform X. “Someone else will file a lawsuit. Another state will pass legislation restricting women’s options.” 

“The only way to stop these attacks on women’s autonomy is to make sure that women have the political power to set their own agenda, instead of having their fundamental rights depend on someone else’s,” she continued. “We all have a role to play in this fight. Raise your voice. And vote in November. Your health and your future should be in your hands.”

Supreme Court upholds access to mifepristone abortion pill in unanimous decision

Last month, French Gates said her philanthropic organization, Pivotal Ventures, would invest specifically in women’s issues, including sexual violence in conflict zones abroad, the role of women in government and maternal health. She specifically outlined a need to work against maternal mortality in the U.S. and toward reproductive freedom.

“Women in 14 states have lost the right to terminate a pregnancy under almost any circumstances,” she wrote in The New York Times last month. “We remain the only advanced economy without any form of national paid family leave. And the number of teenage girls experiencing suicidal thoughts and persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness is at a decade high.”

“When we allow this cause to go so chronically underfunded, we all pay the cost,” she continued. “As shocking as it is to contemplate, my 1-year-old granddaughter may grow up with fewer rights than I had.”

The court’s mifepristone ruling was considered a victory for reproductive rights advocates, with the issue likely to take center stage in the 2024 election. Abortion rights ballot measures are set for votes in multiple states, including multiple key swing states like Arizona and Florida.

Democrats have hoped that an emphasis on the issue could pull independent and moderate voters to their side at the ballot box, especially women voters. A record high 32 percent of voters said they would only vote for a candidate who agreed with their stance on abortion rights in a new poll released Thursday.