Protecting Families, Life, and Nations from Anti-Natalists’ Invasive Ideology
“[B]esides the earth, man’s principal resource is man himself.” – Pope St. John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
This is the second time this month that I can share with you some good news out of Africa! Earlier this month I told you about how the Tanzanian government had ordered a U.S. government-funded agency to cease running its pro-contraception ads in that country. Now we have received the heartening news that the Kenyan government has ordered the abortion giant, Marie Stopes International, to cease all abortion services in Kenya.
Abortion is mostly illegal in Kenya, with some exceptions. However, Marie Stopes has been thumbing its nose at the government, by both advertising and performing illegal abortions. In September the government had ordered Marie Stopes to stop running illegal advertisements promoting abortion. Astonishingly, however, the organization openly defied that ban, and continued to run the ads. To ensure that Marie Stopes obeys the latest order, the Kenyan Medical Practitioners Board has demanded that Marie Stopes issue reports on a weekly basis for the next 60 days detailing “all services rendered within all its facilities.”
Emil Hagamu, HLI’s Regional Director in English-speaking Africa, told me that when news of Kenya’s decision broke, he was in Mauritius with Ann Kioko, the woman who led the charge against Marie Stopes in Kenya. “It was a moment of joy for us all,” he recounted. “Marie Stopes has become the giant killer organization of the unborn innocent children of Africa. As we all know, abortion is a demonic ritual. Marie Stopes and its affiliates are sacrificing millions of unborn children.”
Emil explained that the action against Marie Stopes came after he submitted reports to the president of Tanzania (Emil lives in Dar es Salaam) about the abortion organization’s secret abortion activities in the country. Emil and Ms. Kioko both spearheaded petition campaigns against Marie Stopes. “What has happened to Marie Stopes in Kenya is a victory to all life-loving people in the world and more particularly Africa,” Emil said, “And I pray the rest of African governments will do the same.”
These two decisions – by Tanzania and Kenya – are encouraging signs that African leaders are waking up to the reality that wealthy Western governments, NGOs, and other so-called “non-profits” or “charitable” organizations are waging an assault on African values on Life and Family. Kenya is to be commended for recognizing the threat to its youngest and most vulnerable citizens, defending them from the murderous behavior of Marie Stopes and its affiliates.
Marie Stopes’ Diabolical Deception
These two decisions have also helped draw attention to the staggering scale of Western interventions in Africa in favor of population control, abortion, and hedonistic sexual values.
Marie Stopes, for instance, employs some 12,000 personnel and operates in 37 countries. Every year, it receives hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from Western governments and donors. According to the BBC, Marie Stopes has been active in Kenya since 1985, operating 22 clinics and 15 mobile clinics.
Marie Stopes is brazen in its mission to bring abortion to Africa, flagrantly violating national laws by offering illegal abortions, often shrouded in euphemisms like “post-abortion care” or “menstrual regulation.” Officially the abortion organization denies that it performs illegal abortions. But in 2007 Paul Cornellisson, Marie Stopes Program Director for South Africa, was caught on camera boasting to laughter at a conference that Marie Stopes “does illegal abortions all over the world.”
In a must-watch video produced by Culture of Life Africa, one former Ugandan Marie Stopes nurse describes her shock and horror when she learned that Marie Stopes was violating Ugandan law and performing abortions. Desire Kirabo describes how the painful abortions were performed on “screaming” women by medical assistants, not doctors, using manual vacuum aspiration. The bodies of the aborted babies, she said, were flushed down the toilet, or dumped in the latrine. Ms. Kirabo was let go after she refused to participate in the abortions.
The diabolical irony is that after performing unsafe illegal back-alley abortions in developing countries, Marie Stopes then turns around and uses the existence of unsafe illegal abortions to push for the legalization of abortion. In other words, Marie Stopes creates the problem, and then presents itself and its murderous ideology as the “solution.” In fact, that is precisely what Marie Stopes has been doing recently in Kenya, announcing a campaign in late September to start a “national conversation” on “unsafe abortion”: in other words, to normalize abortion by exploiting the complications that arise as a consequence of its own actions and pro-abortion propaganda.
Marie Stopes: Tip of the Iceberg
However, Marie Stopes is just one of a vast array of NGOs, and non-profits promoting abortion, population control and “LGBT” ideology in developing countries. In many cases one finds that even those western-funded NGOs and non-profits whose mission isn’t directly related to human sexuality or family regulation are nevertheless closely networked with extremist pro-abortion groups. In many cases they are using other legitimate charitable work as a pretense or wedge to push pro-abortion and pro-contraception propaganda.
Indeed, another, less-encouraging piece of news from this week further highlights the scale and arrogance of the assault on Africa. At the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) three donors announced an additional $350 million in funding for so-called “family planning” in Africa and South Asia. Two of the donors are the nations, Canada and the UK, while the third is the Gates Foundation, run by Microsoft-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.
The Gates are known for their fanatical commitment to using their vast wealth and influence to blanket developing countries with contraceptives. In one truly bizarre recent video, Bill Gates lauded Mechai Viravaidya, who he calls the “condom king” of Thailand. Gates recounts how Viravaidya once gave his dad a hat made from hundreds of condoms. (“He wore the cap at our foundation’s annual meeting, earning big laughs from the staff,” said Gates.) Viravaidya is known for and openly brags about aggressively pushing condoms on school-children by holding condom relay races and balloon-blowing contests – something that Gates himself praises.
Because nothing says authentic “development” like having innocent, pre-pubescent school-children play with condoms. But this is the squalor and hubris that fuels the model of development endorsed by people like the Gates or Marie Stopes: they know what is best for Africans. And they are willing even to openly flout the laws of the countries they operate in or hyper-sexualize their children in pursuit of their pernicious ideological colonization.
The Church’s Pro-Family Model of Development
What is striking about Marie Stopes and the Gates Foundation is their obsessive focus not on providing developing nations with the necessities of life or education needed for true economic development, but rather on reducing their populations.
In 2012, after the Gates Foundation announced that Kenya was among the countries targeted for their $4.6 billion contraception push, Cardinal John Njue, then-chairman of the Kenya Episcopal conference, pointed out the obvious. “It is not clear why such a large amount of money is being used for contraceptives while many women are dying daily due to lack of proper medical care, food and housing,” he wrote. “If such money or a portion of it was used to develop the underdeveloped parts of Kenya, the so-called threatening population of 64 million people in the year 2040 would be too low.”
So much so-called international “aid” now takes it as self-evident that fertility and population are intrinsically a threat to development. This anti-natal attitude is strongly repudiated by the Catholic Church, which recognizes human beings not as liabilities, but assets. This attitude was expressed pithily by Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical Centessimus Annus, where he observed that, besides the earth’s material resources, “man’s principal resource is man himself” (¶32).
“[C]hildren must not be treated as a burden or inconvenience but should be cherished as bearers of hope and signs of promise for the future,” he wrote in that same encyclical. “The care which is essential for their growth and nurture comes primarily from their parents, but society must help by sustaining the family in its needs and in its efforts to maintain the caring environment in which children can develop” (¶49).
In a 1994 letter to the secretary general of the International Conference on Population and Development, Pope St. John Paul II noted that the Church is not necessarily against equipping couples with the information they need to space births, but that any methods of family regulation must respect the moral law. “The Church stands opposed to the imposition of limits on family size, and to the promotion of methods of limiting births which separate the unitive and procreative dimensions of marital intercourse,” he wrote, “which are contrary to the moral law inscribed on the human heart, or which constitute an assault on the sacredness of life.”
Neither should parents, the pope emphasized, be pressured or coerced into having fewer children. Large families should be supported, he urged. The Church’s approach to development emphasizes: 1) the sanctity of life, since no development based upon the murder of innocent human beings is true development, and 2) the sanctity of the family, since an intact family is the most important foundation for a healthy, stable society.
“It is necessary to go back to seeing the family as the sanctuary of life,” wrote Pope St. John Paul II in Centessimus Annus. “The family is indeed sacred: it is the place in which life – the gift of God – can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the face of the so-called Culture of Death, the family is the heart of the Culture of Life” (¶39).
In a direct rebuke to the likes of the Gates Foundation and Marie Stopes, the sainted pope lamented: “Human ingenuity seems to be directed more towards limiting, suppressing or destroying the sources of life – including recourse to abortion, which unfortunately is so widespread in the world – than towards defending and opening up the possibility of life.”