In July 1912, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, Marie Stopes, and other leaders in the early race-cleansing eugenics movement held their first international conference in London. Among the leading topics of discussion were how to stop poor and “unfit” African women from breeding.
Exactly 100 years later, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the British Government sponsored the Summit on Family Planning in the same city. This is most likely a coincidence, but the irony is stunning. The objective of the Summit on Family Planning was to raise enough money to “provide 120 million women in the world’s poorest countries with access to contraceptives by 2020,” with a heavy emphasis on Africa. Atop the list of the Gates Foundation’s partners were ― you guessed it ― International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International, the two largest abortion providers in the world, back to finish the work their founders had started a century before.
According to the Summit’s “Summary of Commitments,” getting this many women on birth control will require an additional $4.3 billion over the next eight years, one-fourth of which will be donated by the Gates Foundation.
The Summit was headlined by Prime Minister David Cameron, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland. It was heralded by many as “A rebirth of family planning,” as if the entire international development industry had not spent the last two decades devising ever-more-aggressive but friendlier-sounding ways to stop Africans, Asians and Latinos from having children. Indeed, the so-called “developed” nations have poured one hundred billion dollars into population control in the Southern Hemisphere since 1995.1
Eighteen of the 24 nations represented at the event were African, so it not was difficult to discern the geographical emphasis of this Summit. Also present as “donors” were the dozen or so “developed” world governments that currently provide 95 percent of all population control funding.
And, of course, Big Pharma was more than adequately represented. Participants such as Bayer, Cipla, Helm, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer stand to gain billions annually should 120 million more women be hooked on their products.
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood: Access to family planning massively boosts women’s chances of surviving pregnancy
Although the more honest language of “population control” is no longer in vogue, the same old disinformation and outright propaganda was the order of the day. For example, the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, a “supporting organization” for the Summit, distributed its grandly titled “Atlas of Birth” graphic, in which it claimed, without a trace of ironic awareness, that “Access to family planning massively boosts women’s chances of surviving pregnancy,” and compares the UK’s maternal mortality rate of 12 per 100,000 live births (where contraceptive prevalence is 86%) and the MMR in Chad, which is one hundred times higher at 1,200 per 100,000 (and which has a contraceptive prevalence of only 3%).
White Ribbon Alliance is implying, of course, that all we have to do is flood Chad (and the rest of Africa) with contraception, and the MMR will miraculously plunge. This simplistic and very dangerous assumption will cost many more lives than it saves, because it entirely neglects far more effective maternal lifesaving measures ― such as prenatal care, attended childbirth in a clean environment and surgical care for obstetric complications.
In fact, the dangers posed by the Summit are so extreme that many population control groups (including the Center for Reproductive Rights, which never met an abortion it didn’t like) issued a warning before the Summit. The “Civil Society Declaration” condemns “Policies that accept or tacitly condone forced sterilization [and] the coercive provision of contraceptives. … Any return to coercive family planning programs where quality of care and informed consent are ignored would be both shocking and retrograde.”2
One certainly does not want to be perceived as “retrograde,” but these groups have good reason to be concerned. The co-sponsor of the London Summit on Family Planning was the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID). This government agency contributed $261.4 million to India’s most recent forced sterilization program. This type of quota- and bounty-based population program inevitably leads to gross and widespread human rights violations. Many Indian women were rounded up and sterilized without their knowledge or consent. Bribery and threats were routine; women were offered $11 and a sari if they were sterilized, or were entered in a lottery where one woman out of thousands sterilized might have won a car, which she could not have afforded to drive anyway. NGO workers who convinced women to have sterilizations received a cash bounty, so the program was ripe for abuse and corruption, as all such programs are.3
One DfID-funded doctor did 53 sterilizations in just two hours by flashlight and botched all 53 procedures, leaving women to lie in agony on a filthy straw-covered floor. He did not even sterilize his instruments between operations, because he was in such a rush to collect as much bounty money as he could.
A 2010 DFID report said that the purpose of its programs was to reduce greenhouse emissions. Since DfID knew that its money would go towards funding forced sterilizations under filthy conditions, we can properly conclude that the agency considers environmental issues more important than the most fundamental rights of poor Indian women.4
Knowing this, the Gates Foundation motto “All Lives have Equal Value” rings a bit hollow.
Paul Cornellisson, Marie Stopes Program Director for South Africa: “We do illegal abortions all over the world.”
Another partner of the London Summit was Marie Stopes International (MSI), which makes Planned Parenthood look like a bunch of underachievers by comparison. MSI peddles pornographic posters and movies for public consumption in Great Britain and has admitted to committing illegal abortions all over the world.5 MSI is especially active in Africa, and women commonly refer to illegal abortions as the “Marie Stopes procedure.” Workers at the MSI center in Tororo, Uganda, testified that it did many illegal abortions and also injected women with Depo-Provera shots, telling them that they were malaria treatments.6 In July of this year, the government of Zambia expelled Marie Stopes International for committing hundreds of illegal abortions over a period of just five months.7
Melinda Gates takes the well-worn road that so many other lapsed Catholics have trod by claiming that “The [Gates] foundation doesn’t take a position on abortion.”8 This is like someone saying that they don’t take a position on racism while contributing millions of dollars to the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan National Alliance.
The Gates Foundation has donated more than one billion dollars to the most virulent pro-abortion groups in the worlds specifically for “family planning” activities.9 These include the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which has lavishly praised the Chinese forced-abortion program and has actually helped to implement it; CARE International, which is pushing hard to legalize abortion in several African nations; Pathfinder International, which has been doing illegal “menstrual extraction” abortions in many nations for decades; and, of course, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which does more to push abortion all over the world than any other organization on Earth.
The most persuasive propaganda in support of the London Summit on Family Planning was provided by Melinda Gates herself, who said, “When I travel and talk to women around the world they tell me that access to contraceptives can often be the difference between life and death. Today is about listening to their voices, about meeting their aspirations, and giving them the power to create a better life for themselves and their families.”10
These encounters were obviously carefully choreographed photo ops with African women who all obediently parroted the “we must have contraception!” line they had been fed by the Gates advance teams. It seems very odd that, of all the women quoted by Melinda Gates, not a single one spoke of the need for prenatal care, delivery in a safe and clean environment and surgical treatment for obstetric problems—measures that would save many more lives in the long run.
While preparing for her carefully-planned gala Summit, Melinda Gates entirely ignored the voices of those women who disagreed with her goal of flooding the world with birth control.
One of these was a Nigerian mother who said in an open letter to Melinda Gates:
With her incredible wealth she wants to replace the legacy of an African woman (which is her child) with the legacy of child-free sex. … Even at a glance, anyone could see that the unlimited and easy availability of contraceptives in Africa would surely increase infidelity and sexual promiscuity as sex is presented by this multi-billion dollar project as a casual pleasure sport that can indeed come with no strings ― or babies ― attached . . . . I see this $4.6 billion buying us misery. I see it buying us unfaithful husbands. I see it buying us streets devoid of the innocent chatter of children. I see it buying us disease and untimely death. I see it buying us a retirement without the tender loving care of our children. Please, Melinda, listen to the heart-felt cry of an African woman and mercifully channel your funds to pay for what we REALLY need.
Mrs. Gates ― are you listening?
A version of this article appeared in the The Wanderer, volume 145, number 40.
1 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Financial Resource Flows for Population Activities [annual reports]. Table A.1, “Primary Funds of Donor Countries for Population Assistance, by Channel of Distribution.” For complete details and calculations, see Excel spreadsheet F-18-05.XLS.
2 “Women’s Human Rights Must be at the Centre of the Family Planning Summit: Civil Society Declaration.” http://reproductiverights.org/sites/crr.civicactions.net/files/documents/Civil-Society-Declaration_06_19_2012.pdf, September 17, 2012.
3 Gethin Chamberlain. “UK Aid Helps to Fund Forced Sterilisation of India’s Poor.” The Observer/The Guardian, April 14, 2012.
5 Paul Cornellisson, Marie Stopes International Program Director for South Africa, YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cf7Rg8zxds, September 17, 2012.
6 Face-to-face discussions with Brian Clowes and Father Jonathan Opio at Sacred Heart Parish in Tororo, Uganda, on December 15, 2010. One of the daughters of an HLI counselor went to MSI for malaria treatment but got a Depo-Provera shot instead without her knowing what it was. She lost her cycles for three months, and then started bleeding so heavily she had to seek hospitalization. I heard this very same story from several other women. MSI personnel have boasted about performing illegal abortions all over the world. In fact, abortion in Uganda is called the “MSP” ― the “Marie Stopes procedure.”
7 “Zambia: Gov’t ‘Aborts’ Marie Stopes.” AllAfrica.com, July 26, 2012.
8 Deborah Solomon. “Questions for Melinda Gates: The Donor.” The New York Times Magazine, October 22, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/magazine/24fob-q4-t.html, September 18, 2012.
9 “Search Awarded Grants” feature on the Gates Foundation Web site at http://www.gatesfoundation.org/grants/Pages/search.aspx.
10 Julio Godoy. “Family Planning Essential for Development.” Inter Press Service News Agency, July 18, 2012.