Washington, D.C., Dec. 11, 2013 (Zenit.org), by Denise Hunnell, MD:
This poignant indictment of Western developmental aid efforts in Africa was written by Obianuju Ekeocha, an African woman and founder of Culture of Life Africa, in response to the recent International Conference On Family Planning (ICFP) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was sponsored in part by The Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health as well as abortion giants Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Maria Stopes International.
When Melinda Gates, a Catholic, announced the beginning of her grand initiative in 2012 to commit millions of dollars to support the spread of hormonal contraceptive use in Africa she claimed there was “no controversy” because her work would not advocate for abortion, and because contraceptive use should not be considered controversial. Yet only a year later she is leading the charge for legalized abortion in Africa. (...)
Ms. Gates states her motivation for these efforts is to reverse the tragically high maternal mortality rate of African women – a noble goal. Yet utilizing contraception and abortion to combat deaths during pregnancy is akin to using starvation to fight obesity. Such a superficial approach ignores the root causes of maternal mortality such as the lack of properly equipped health care facilities, skilled health care providers, proper nutrition, clean water, and educational opportunities. (...)
If the health of African women was truly the central concern of the organizers and participants at the ICFP, they would be building clinics and training medical providers. They would be building schools and fighting for the rights of African women to be educated. Why, then, do they persist in imposing the risky medical strategies of abortion and contraception on African women?
Perhaps they are blinded by their ideology and either cannot see or willfully choose to ignore the tragic consequences of their initiatives. Their actions suggest that their reproductive health programs are less about improving health and more about thwarting reproduction. Their Malthusian concerns about population growth embolden them to pick and choose who will be allowed to have children, and they have judged African women as unworthy.
Returning again to the words of Obianuju Ekeocha: “The African women deserve to stand proudly among the women of the world within the context of their own cultural sensitivities and values. They deserve to be recognised in the full esteem and stature of their radiant African femininity, beauty, and dignity that is firmly rooted in a vibrant culture of life and family.” It is therefore incumbent upon all those who respect the sanctity and dignity of all human life to stand in support of African women and condemn these efforts to render them sterile. We must expose the ruse that portrays population control as health care. We must counter the work of those who peddle death with healthy initiatives that promote life.
Denise Hunnell, MD, is a Fellow of Human Life International, an international pro-life organization. She writes for HLI’s Truth and Charity Forum.