Targeting adolescents as ‘progress’
“For us to make real progress as a country, our interventions must target this group.”
— Ummy Mwalimu, Minister for Health, Community Development, Elderly and Children, speaking of the need to target adolescent girls with contraceptives, at the opening of the Family Planning 2020 “Progress Report” conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, earlier this month.
That is the word that the Honorable Ms. Mwalimu uses to outline the goal of getting Tanzanian girls under the age of 18 to start having sex and “protecting” themselves from its consequences with the drugs provided through the massive “Family Planning 2020” campaign. The stated goal of the Gates Foundation and its partners in this 2.6 billion dollar project is to get 120 million women in Africa and Asia to start using Depo Provera and other hormonal drugs. This, Ms. Gates told the New York Times again last week, will help women in developing nations “start to break the cycle of poverty.”
This is the technocratic case for “progress”: Get many millions of poor women with no doctors, no hospitals, no corner drug store, and little education and access to information to start using drugs that American women shun due to their serious health risks. And since Ms. Gates has such a knack for getting uncritical media coverage from such outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and even, sadly, the American Enterprise Institute, “FP2020” continues its philanthropic assault on millions of poor women who are literally being told that a shot in the arm is the key to getting out of poverty.
So FP 2020 is all about “progress” for poor women in poor countries. Hence, the great generosity of the Gates Foundation, Pfizer (the maker of Depo Provera, in which the Gates Foundation is a major stockholder), the United States and British governments, and a whole host of the usual suspects in the multibillion dollar “development” and “aid” industry. They’re here to help.
No doubt, Ms. Mwalimu does believe in the “health” initiative of FP 2020. But it is not her initiative. Nor was this massive project initiated in the dozens of other health ministries of African nations who have bought into this scheme. It was initiated in Seattle, New York City, Washington D.C., and London.
The New Colonialism
One of the great successes of the latest form of colonization lies in the redefinition of words like “progress” to mean something other than movement toward genuine human flourishing. Who could look at the last fifty years of “aid” to Africa and say that the goal was to secure genuine human flourishing? Who would dare say such a thing? No, if you want to see the goal of this “aid”, the “progress” it inflicted on Africa, look at the decrease in total fertility rate measurements over time, the only “success” of which this corrupt industry can boast.
To the “aid” industry, “progress” is getting Africans to internalize the corrupt values and priorities of powerful western elites, and lead their own people into further subjection, while thanking the donors for their generosity.
It is a massive export of the sexual revolution: get people to abandon traditional mores and have sex, supposedly without consequences. Break the natural, healthy, intrinsic link between sex and fertility and you have a people that are easy to control. Give them sex in their media, “comprehensive sex education” in schools that provide pornographic instruction with the façade of educational authority, and tell children they have the “right” to sexual pleasure. Then give them drugs and condoms to make them (here’s another word that has been redefined) “safe,” and when these things fail—as they do tens of millions of times per year around the world—you get a (demonic term) “unintended pregnancy.” Yes, their “education” leads to tens of millions of women every year to have “safe” sex and then wonder how they got pregnant and a sexually transmitted infection to boot.
Strategies at Home and Abroad
That’s what marketers call the “pull” strategy—create a demand for your product. Then there is the “push strategy”. For African adolescent girls, that means your governments and health ministers become advocates for dangerous drugs without ever mentioning the serious physical and spiritual side effects. Next comes abortion—something these ministers never saw themselves promoting even a short time ago. But once contraception is widespread, abortion becomes the next step in “reproductive health,” since behaviors and mores change, leading to many, many more unintended pregnancies.
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This isn’t only in Africa; it’s well advanced here, as we well know. Thanks to the “progress” promoted in our schools and media by the “progressive” elite, our kids are regressing in intellect and maturity, and are increasingly reliant on the government for their basic needs and even their ideas. But they sure know how to put a condom on a banana, and their only marketable skill is throwing a tantrum, which apparently is a part time job for some lucky millennials in today’s progressive America.
We’re Not Enemies
I don’t say this to demonize health ministers or billionaire philanthropists. They are not the enemy. People can have good intentions that lead to bad things. Ms. Gates is a Catholic, and by many accounts a kind and generous person. There is a good chance she never heard a word from the pulpit about the Church’s beautiful and life-giving teaching on marriage and sexuality.
These health ministers and billionaire philanthropists are acting, one can imagine, in accordance with their consciences. They can mean well, even if what they mean to do is not at all good—that is, their consciences have not been formed in the truth. The fact that they follow the exact modus operandi of the racist eugenicists of the early 20th century probably has not occurred to them, nor do they think of themselves as participants in a new colonialism.
Still, even billionaires would have questions to answer if we had a functioning media industry. When Family Planning 2020 was launched in July 2012 in London— exactly 100 years after the first London eugenics conference of 1912—Ms. Gates made it clear that Depo Provera was her preferred method of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC). She said this despite the fact that her foundation had just funded a Lancet-published research project that again found that Depo Provera use correlated with a twofold increase in HIV transmission among women. Despite knowing this, as Ms. Gates must have, she and her collaborators pressed ahead with FP 2020, with Depo Provera as the primary method on offer.
Within the last several months, after more studies have been published supporting the case against Depo Provera, many organizations have surprisingly begun to distance themselves from the dangerous drug and its promoters. Pro-abortion and pro-contraception women’s health advocates have even publicly criticized the World Health Organization (largest funder: the Gates Foundation), for lowering rather than increasing its risk assessment of Depo Provera due to the growing amount of research pointing to its risks.
Well, if some women’s health advocates are starting to wake up, then that may be a step toward real progress. Again, many of these folks mean well, but were educated in an academic environment where sexual “health” and pleasure are the highest values, and pregnancy is a dangerous disease. We hope that Ms. Mwalimu and her fellow African health ministers start to ask questions. Among these should be questions about the true meaning of progress, and about whether those pushing destructive drugs as the key to poverty reduction have really thought things through.
Reprinted with permission from Human Life International.