Obianuju Ekeocha, a Nigerian-born biomedical scientist and the founder of Culture of Life Africa, a U.K.-based pro-life group, argued on BBC’s Sunday Morning Live that the Gates Foundation’s push for contraception in Africa might be “an insidious way of moving the agenda of population control” since in many African countries the “desired number of children is actually quite high.”
Melinda Gates announced last week that the Gates Foundation will commit an additional $375 million to family planning programs citing deep concerns “about the White House’s proposed budget cuts to global family planning efforts.” President Trump recently expanded a policy that bans taxpayer funds from going to programs that perform or promote abortion overseas.
“When a woman has access to contraceptives, she tends to have fewer children. Families can devote more resources to each child’s nutrition, health, and education, setting them up for a better future,” Gates said.
“I’m sure Melinda Gates means well,” Ekeocha began, “but you see the problem is there is an arrogance and something in what I see as questions not being asked in all the talk about contraception and helping women space their children is what exactly, speaking of Africa for example, what exactly do women want?”
“In most of the African countries you get to find and research continues to show all the time that African women you know in a lot of the countries desire or desired number of children is actually quite high when cultures where people for example value children or value big families what are you saying to the women if you continue to push their governments towards the so-called family planning projects?”
“Not that people are not spacing their children,” she added, “it’s that this might indeed be an insidious way of moving the agenda of population control.”
Ekeocha clarified that she was not saying family planning programs were “bad in and of themselves” but that “there is a real problem with a multi-billionaire from a Western country coming in to tell African governments what to do or how to control populations.”
Mairo Mandara, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Country Representative for Nigeria, said at a World Population Day (WPD) event that “Family Planning should be declared a National Emergency,” adding, “it is not about stopping people from giving birth, but seeking to control the process. The WPD is meant to draw attention to population explosion in the coming years. In Nigeria, the WPD 2017 provides opportunity to discuss ways of checking possible population explosion.”
French President Emmanuel Macron drew criticism last week for saying that Africa has a “civilizational” problem and women are having “seven or eight children.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, recently defended Canada’s increase in funds toward abortion and contraception overseas by calling abortion and contraception a “tool to end poverty.”