Friday, 22 June 2012

Can we blame liberal nuns for the Gates' Foundation's "philanthropy of death"?

The excellent Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute has started a campaign to raise awareness of a "Family planning summit" to be hosted by Melinda Gates in London in a few weeks time. The summit is co-sponsored by International Planned Parenthood Federation (the world's largest abortion provider) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (slogan - apparently intended without irony: "Population matters"). Pro-lifers have applied to register at the summit in order to provide a counter-voice to the dominant pro-abortion, pro-population control, pro-contraception agenda, but have been refused entry. As a result, C-Fam have started a petition attached to an "Open letter to Melinda Gates"  on which I have signed and would encourage readers to consider doing the same. 

The letter raises many pertinent issues, including asking whether the summit will consider support for healthy childbirth programs. For me this is crucial - so much money and effort is spent on contraception and abortion services under the umbrella "women's health" when the Cinderella services - midwifery, neonatology,  ante- post- and peri-natal care are barely given any consideration. When pregnancy and childbirth are dangerous simply for want of cheap sterilisation equipment or vitamins or simple equipment like pinards / fetoscopes or simply more trained birth attendants, women may be far more easily seduced into believing that abortion is their "only" option. 

A pinard is cheap and as effective as ultrasound for ante- and peri-natal  foetal monitoring
Photo credit: "Midwifery Elective Adventure"

I visited the Bill and Melinda Gates' foundation website and read Melinda Gates' address to TED xChange 2012: The Big Picture  which is described on its website as "a platform for sharing game-changing ideas [for] solving the world’s biggest problems? Climate change, global poverty, the AIDS/HIV crisis — solving these problems will demand big thinking and unprecedented international cooperation. ... and the world is invited to join the conversation." Presumably this invitation isn't extended to pro-lifers.

Melinda Gates' speech gave me some insight into her background: on the subject of contraception she says that while she considers herself to be "a practicing Catholic" she believes that "we can insist that all people have the opportunity to learn about contraceptives and have access to the full variety of methods. I think the goal here is really clear: universal access to birth control that women want. And for that to happen, it means that both rich and poor governments alike must make contraception a total priority."

Now when third world women talk about wanting opportunities, I don't think that they're thinking about  the "opportunity to learn about contraceptives". But Gates' talk is subtle, if illogical - she gives examples of  "happy endings" stories of  poor women who started up businesses, or managed to educate their children privately, because (she suggests) they restricted their family size. I wonder whether she talked to elderly people in countries with low birthrates - China, Italy - about the impact on their lives of having only had one child. I wonder also about the changes to human relationships in a society where the majority of people are the willful first-borns. Historically most political and military leaders have been first-born or only children. Parents with larger families will understand why almost immediately. Second, and particularly subsequent siblings have a different perspective on life; are more likely to be team players. A healthy society needs foot-soldiers and farmers as well as generals.

Here's the telling bit: Melinda Gates' had a Catholic Education. Or should I say a "Catholic" education. Referring to the religious sisters who educated her, she says: "you know, the nuns who taught me were incredibly progressive. And I hope that they’ll be very proud of me for living out what they taught us about social justice" [emphasis mine].

So can we blame this whole sorry debacle on liberal nuns?

Are confused leftist nuns to blame?

Most depressing of all was the slogan on the Bill and Melinda Gates' Foundation website: "ALL LIVES HAVE EQUAL VALUE". Yeah right - tell that to the millions of babies who'll never be born thanks to the Foundation's "philanthropy".  For an organisation deeply involved in contraception and abortion behind the "womens' health" smokescreen, that really is a slogan FAIL.

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