Timothy Herrmann

Colbert ribs Melinda Gates about wanting to stop ‘people’s lives from existing’

Timothy Herrmann
By Timothy Herrmann
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July 6, 2012 (C-fam.org) - Love him or hate him, Stephen Colbert doesn’t waste time getting to the point. In last Thursday’s interview with Melinda Gates on the Colbert Report. He asked Melinda about her newest initiative and cut straight to the chase: the new population control movement exists to save lives by erasing lives.

Colbert: “But now you’ve got a new charitable hobby horse you’re on, and it’s not necessarily saving people’s lives, so much as it’s stopping people’s lives from existing. You want to provide family planning to 120 million men and women around the world.”

Melinda Gates: “Right.”

The old population control movement existed for more or less the same reason, to eradicate poverty by eradicating the poor. In fact, the only major difference between the two movements is one of semantics. Today’s newest generation of population control proponents are still billionaires, still from the first world, and are still convinced that the poor are at the center of the world’s woe.

What’s changed is their marketing campaign and rhetoric.

The word “control”, especially when placed directly after the word population, evokes a flood of concrete historical memories that include coercive family planning programs still infamous today. The programs were known for addressing poverty through forced sterilizations, eradicating the poor in order to eradicate poverty. In the process, they robbed the poor person of their humanity and replaced it with a number in order to fulfill fertility quotas.

The policies were racist and driven by ideological fear. They were sponsored by many of the same organizations that make up the new population movement today. The new movement, however, has attempted to distance itself from its past with a very modern, subtle shift in ideology. No longer do they emphasize eugenics or even use the word “control”, but prefer the word “empowerment” and the ideology of women’s rights.

Today they use words like “population dynamics” and phrases like “demography is not destiny”. They shame the poor world into believing that the real problem isn’t so much investment in their education, health, or economy as it is their fertility. They tell them, “if you only would use family planning to ‘space your children’ properly you wouldn’t have the problems that you do, you wouldn’t be so poor and uneducated.”  Then they tell these people, especially women, many of whom have access to modern methods of family planning, that it is their “right” to use those methods, even though, given their strong insistence, it seems to be less of right than an “obligation”.

Their message is as clear as it was 50 years ago: the poor are the problem, and according to this movement, it is the poor that are the ones responsible for solving it. How? By controlling their population growth. By not having children. The billionaires can’t do it for them, they can’t force them. They can pay them to do it, they can educate them on how to do it, they can even increase their access to the services that will help them to do it, but they can’t make them. They already tried that.

So instead they focus on rights, and they focus on shame, and they tell people like me, in the first world, that the poor people in the southern hemisphere would be okay if they just get access to contraception. And we mostly believe them. Except, something just doesn’t seem right.

Does development really come from contraception? And is it really a problem of too many people? What about investing in jobs, education, health and infrastructure? Perhaps those are the real problems. Perhaps, and this is just a wild guess, that is the way the north has been able to grow….

The north developed without contraception. It became rich and educated without contraception. Fertility began dropping later, and again, without contraception. Instead it was education that made the difference. It was economic growth provided by investment and the entrepreneurship of people, not numbers.

The new population control movement, led by billionaires like Melinda Gates in coordination with organizations the like UNFPA and governments that include both the United States and the United Kingdom, still wants to eradicate poverty by eradicating the poor, it’s just that, for historical reasons, they can’t come out and say it so directly. Yet, every now and then they do, just as Melinda did the other night. This needs to be made clear. This movement must be de-masked, and defeated once again.

I think that Melinda Gates actually believes that increasing the poor’s access to family planning will really better their lives. I also think that many of the people involved in the population control movement in the 40s, 50s and 60s did as well.  However, what they don’t seem to be able to understand, or at least reconcile, is that this is not the only solution. Instead it’s a solution that comes at the cost of reducing people to numbers, and one that will put billions of dollars into “empowering” people to stop having children rather than educating them and helping them to build a society where they are valued as a resource rather than a curse.

Yes, Melinda Gates is Catholic, but this is not the “preferential option for the poor” that we have been educated to at Church and in school for the last 2,000 years. No, that option is built on love, responsibility and the experience of seeing human beings as protagonists and not numbers.

Reprinted with permission from C-Fam’s Turtle Bay and Beyond blog.


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

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By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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