As a follow up to Phillipa Taylor’s article on the UK government’s aid to Africa and its ties to contraception and abortion. In it she discussed the idea of an “unmet need” for contraception, a notion that is pushed by those seeking to profit from the selling of contraception:
However the Guttmacher Institute (another known abortion and sexual rights campaigning organisation) in its own research found that: “Women with unmet need for contraception rarely say that they are unaware of contraception, that they do not have access to a source or supply, or that it costs too much.” Even going back to 1995–2005 they note that women rarely cited a lack of access or cost as a reason for not using a contraceptive method.
Instead, they report that women express concerns about the side effects and health risks associated with modern contraceptive methods and “In Africa, opposition to contraception is somewhat more frequently cited as a reason for non-use than in earlier years.”
This is important. The issue here is not about access and availability but about women not wanting to use contraception.
Family planning organisations naturally have a vested interest in this business, so their answer is to “educate” women. So poor and uneducated African women need, they say: “…broader educational programs designed to address opposition to family planning.”
Obianuju Ekeocha of Culture of Life Africa says that this is simply a new form of neo-colonialism and imperialism. It certainly reeks of “we know better than you” as the UK imposes its own Western-cantered ideological values on other nations. Evidence, it seems, is not allowed to stand in the way of ideology.
Well, the “we know better” approach was seen again last month at the Gates Foundation’s “goalkeepers” event held in New York alongside the UN general assembly. The French President Emmanuel Macron, who has form when it comes to lecturing Africa, delivered a speech in which he argued that African women would choose to have smaller families if only they were educated (to the correct, Macron-view) and were given family planning.
Although Macron said that it was “pure bullshit” to argue that he is trying to tell African people what to do with their lives from New York, he apparently has no problem in saying what African women as a whole think. This is apparently the less hubristic approach?? The President said that:
“One of the critical issues of African demography is that this is not chosen fertility … I always say: ‘Present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight or nine children. Please present me with the young girl who decided to leave school at 10 in order to be married at 12.’ … This is just because a lot of girls were not properly educated, sometimes because these countries decided the rights of these girls were not exactly the same rights as the young man. That is not acceptable.”
If one were to present Macron with an example well-educated woman who had seven or more children (like many of the mothers of my friends, or perhaps Judge Amy Coney Barrett) one wonders if he would argue that they were not “perfectly educated”? That is, one can only be perfectly educated if they agree with Macron’s view of the ideal family size. Quite frankly, this is unbelievable arrogance from the French President (please, no stereotypical jokes…) telling African women with large families that their family choices are due to their lack of education. “I know that you think you want seven children, but really that is just because you are too badly educated to know what’s best for you”. But of course this isn’t being paternalistic or talking down to Africa from on high in New York. Oh no, that is “pure bullshit”. No wonder people are becoming increasingly disdainful of the global, jet-setting elite.
Anyway here's the pushback from smart mums with large families: #postcardsforMacron. Great stuff!
— Catherine R Pakaluk (@CRPakaluk) October 16, 2018