Melinda Gates and Planned Parenthood targeting Africa with HIV-doubling contraception
To read other articles from this issue of WSR: Click here

In April of this year, billionaire Melinda Gates gave an extremely disturbing talk where she painted the women of sub-Saharan Africa as “victims” of lack of birth control. The talk signaled the public launch of Gates’ ten-year plan to lend her voice (and millions of dollars) to ostensibly eliminate the controversy that surrounds contraception.

Gates preposterously proposes to save women and children’s lives by increasing access to injectable contraception in Africa. She claims the rate of contraceptive usage in sub-Saharan Africa is low because injectable birth control (Depo-provera) is not readily available. While claiming that women in Africa prefer this birth control method because they can hide it from their husbands, she makes no mention of the fact that Depo-provera doubles a woman’s risk of contracting HIV.

Neither does she mention that when Depo-provera is used by HIV-positive women, their male partners are twice as likely to become infected than if the women had used no contraception. All this is unfolding with an inconvenient backdrop for Gates and Planned Parenthood—the fact that in sub-Saharan Africa, 61 percent of the women are already living with AIDS.

“Some people think when we talk about contraception, that it’s code for abortion, which it’s not,” Gates said in her talk. “Some people worry that the real goal of family planning is to control populations.” These are side issues, she says, “that attach themselves to this core idea that men and women should be able to decide when they want to have a child.” Following those verbal gymnastics, she makes an astoundingly untrue assertion: “As a result, birth control has almost completely disappeared from the global health agenda. And the victims of this paralysis are the people of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.”

But, in reality, the “global health agenda” is in full court press to implant and inject contraceptives and deliver abortions to the women of sub-Saharan Africa, who are already devastated by the AIDS epidemic.

Planned Parenthood states in its strategic plan for Africa that it will push for:

68 percent increase in new family planning users by 2015
82 percent increase in abortion “services” by 2015

Planned Parenthood’s stated goal in the strategic plan: “Increase ‘Access’ as the linchpin of all other priority areas in services and advocacy for sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, focusing on the most vulnerable groups.”

Gates cedes that “as a world” there are lots of things we need to do to help the poor, but “one of the simplest and most transformative things we can do is give everybody access to birth control methods that almost all Germans have access to and all Americans.” She says that there is a global movement waiting to happen to ensure that access, if the intention is very clear that the goal is not abortion or population control.

After promoting HIV-increasing contraception to these poor women, she then amazingly attempts to paint herself as a “practicing” Catholic, highlighting her Catholic upbringing and the fact that her lineage includes a Jesuit priest and a Dominican nun. She talks about how she went to Ursuline Academy for high school where she learned the lessons she is applying today in her foundations work. “The nuns taught us to question received teachings. And one of the questions we girls and my peers questioned was, ‘Is birth control really a sin?’”

“The nuns who taught me were incredibly progressive,” she says, when queried whether they would be horrified by her talk.

To learn more about the dangers of contraceptives, visit our website, C-Fam is circulating an open letter to Melinda Gates, which you can sign here, urging her to let voices other than pro-abortion population controllers be heard at her July 11 Family Planning Summit that the Gates Foundation will co-sponsor with the British government. There she will join hands with International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to get governments to commit $6 billion per year to foist birth control on some of the world’s poorest women and children—without (she hopes) controversy.