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 <a…