The movement to cull the population of the developing world has taken a leap forward due to the work of a high-profile advocate. Melinda Gates, wife of the famous founder of Microsoft, used the multi-billion dollar charitable Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to co-sponsor, along with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, a family planning summit in London with the goal of raising billions to expand poor women’s access to contraceptives.
At a TED Talk earlier this Spring, Gates claimed that contraceptives lead to healthier, prosperous, and more educated children. She laments the fact that the more popular, injectable contraceptives are hard for women in developing countries to acquire. “The reason women like it so much is they can hide it from their husbands, who sometimes want a lot of children,” she said, in effect advocating deception rather than real dialogue between spouses and advancement of the status of women.
Throughout the speech, Gates insisted that contraception was really uncontroversial and her battle cry has become “no controversy.” She insisted, “we’re not talking about abortion. We’re not talking about population control. What I’m talking about is giving women the power to save their lives.”
The mechanism for Gates’ preferred injectable method of contraception (which is similar to Depo Provera). However, according to Dr. Denise J. Hunnell of Human Life International in an article for CNSNews.com, the injectable contraception works by both preventing ovulation, and, if it had already occurred, keeping the uterine lining too thin for the embryo to implant, therefore aborting the pregnancy by killing the newly created life. Moreover, International Planned Parenthood Federation, an abortion provider and promoter in the developing world, announced that as part of Gates’ summit, it will triple its services by 2020 and increase advocacy.
Not only will the drug and its method of distribution promote abortion, but it also has other side effects that make it even more controversial. Hunnell reported that injectable contraception may double the spread of HIV, and increases the risk of breast cancer, strokes, and blood clots.
As for population control, Human Life International says that, “many nations continue to use coercive means to stop women from having children, most notoriously in China, India and Uzbekistan,” and “the British government, co-sponsor of Melinda Gates’ birth control project, was recently found to be funding a forced sterilization campaign in India.” Planned Parenthood was found to be a collaborator in forced population control initiatives in China.
During the talk, Gates claimed that she was a “practicing Catholic,” even though the church she professes adherence to consistently teaches that contraception is sinful.
Furthermore, Gates demonstrated a unique understanding of world history. Speaking about France in the mid-1700s, she claimed that “the average family size went down every decade for 150 years in a row until it stabilized. It took so long back then because contraceptives frankly weren’t that good.” The common explanation is actually the other way round, that the reason for smaller families was decreasing mortality due to an improvement in living conditions, which made it unnecessary to have more children to perpetuate the family and provide valuable labour, mostly on the farm. Gates makes the same sort of generalization about the Asian economic boom of the 1980s.
In fact, Kyo Hu Choo, the South Korean ambassador to Britain, was presented to the summit as a “model for the world” because his country has a 100 per cent contraception prevalence rate after its program began in the 1960s at the behest of the United States. However, Choo said, “Now we suffer from very low birth rate. There is some expert opinion that we overdid it.”
According to The Guardian, as a result of the July 11 summit, $2.6 billion was pledged by developed countries over eight years, which is supposed to provide contraceptives to 120 million women in developing nations. The financially strapped European Union donated $28 million and Britain gave $801 million. The PRI reports that Anuradha Gupta, the Joint Secretary of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Planning, plans to provide contraceptives “absolutely free of cost” and “in every nook and corner of our large country.” Other countries that will be increasing funding for contraceptives include Indonesia and Senegal.
In the lead-up to the London summit, Jennifer Derwey promoted a petition on the blog, ProWomanProLife, for Melinda Gates to reconsider her support for the summit and population control policy. Derwey wrote: “I like Melinda Gates, I really do. Though I don’t know her personally, I feel like she’s a very genuine person who truly cares about her fellow human beings, even if she is wrong about how to help them. It is true that she’s giving an awful lot of money and support to groups and causes that, beneath the veneer of pretty rhetoric, probably care more about economics than they do about people.” Derwey added that providing birth control does not provide the equality for men and women that advocates claim, it only prevents women from having children, leaving larger equality issues unaddressed.