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The billion-dollar campaign to persuade poor women they need contraception

Hundreds of millions of women apparently have an ‘unmet need’ for contraception. The concept is vague at best

By on Monday, 16 July 2012

David Cameron and Melinda Gates at the summit on family planning last week (Photo: PA)

David Cameron and Melinda Gates at the summit on family planning last week (Photo: PA)

I have blogged about Melinda Gates before. Wife of billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates, she was in London last week to host a family planning summit for global leaders which, according to the Daily Telegraph, “would deliver safe contraception to 120 million women and girls in developing countries”. So far, several European countries between them have donated $2.6 billion to meet the “unmet need” of these Third World women. The medical journal the Lancet argues that the figure of those “in need” of contraception is actually 220 million; still, to reach 120 million of them sounds an impressive target.

It all sounds sensible, deserving and straightforward – and who would not wish to applaud a very rich woman who chooses to spend her leisure time working hard to alleviate poverty rather than on a sun bed? But “unmet need” is a worrying concept, as an article by Michael Cook at MercatorNet has pointed out. Indeed, it is a meaningless phrase, according to Lant Pritchett, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, who has been in correspondence with Cook on the subject. Apparently the phrase “unmet demand” was invented by the first family planning surveys of the 1960s and was echoed at the Cairo Conference of 1994 which stated: “Government goals for family planning should be defined in terms of unmet needs for information and services.” Analysing the word “unmet”, Pritchett suggests it is too vague to be useful. Even the World Bank acknowledges that “women with unmet need may still not have any intention to use contraception were it readily accessible and of good quality”. This is because Melinda Gates’ targeted millions will inevitably include women who do know about contraceptives and who can access them, but who might be worried about the side effects, or have religious objections or have husbands working away from home. It seems that even Africa’s 65,000 Catholic nuns fit the description of “unmet need”.

Pritchett adds that decades ago an enthusiast of the family planning movement, Charles Westoff, highlighted the same criticisms of “unmet need” – but the movement, and now its latest proponent, Melinda Gates, still cling to it doggedly. Perhaps this is because of its emotive connotations rather than any rational meaning? I raised the theme of this blog yesterday with someone whom I guessed would not be entirely sympathetic to arguments against Mrs Gates’s crusade. He immediately prefaced his challenge to me with “Let’s face it”; this was followed by “You must agree that”; and concluding with “Do you want millions of babies in Third World countries to die unnecessarily?” It shows how very hard it is to think and argue clearly when emotions are running high.

Cook’s article relates how Professor Pritchett wrote a paper in 1996, following the Cairo Conference, in which he pointed out that in comparison “to the need for food, water, medical care and fuel, the need for contraception was very small in poor countries”. The phrase “unmet need” is also patronising for women: how can they need something that they do not want? Pritchett comments: “It is precisely this disrespect for women and their autonomy and choices that led to the disasters in India and China.” If poor women do not recognise their “unmet need” for contraception, the consequence is that they have to be instructed, persuaded, badgered, threatened and even coerced into compliance. There is a dark side to this seeming philanthropic activity of Melinda Gates that is not discussed at all.

  • Acleron


    If poor women do not recognise their “unmet need” for contraception, the consequence is that they have to be instructed, persuaded, badgered, threatened and even coerced into compliance.’

    Just because the catholic church badgers, threatens, coerces and lies to people to get their way, don’t assume that others are as unethical. 

    Earlier you complain that Gate’s approach will involve women who have health concerns about contraception. This is quite correct, the Rand corporation have already shown that 20% of women worldwide have such concerns. Part of the Gates approach is shining the light of knowledge on such concerns. It also means giving women informed freedom of choice about their own bodies, just what can be considered ‘dark’ about that?

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB5024/index1.html 

    Btw, that ref also gives a slightly less slanted interpretation of ‘unmet need’ than the above article.

  • Esnofla

    I would like to know how the Church threatens, badgers and coerces and lies to people in a way that the government doesn’t?  In fact, I would say the government is quite capable of doing it and doing it far better, far more often and with far more consequences than the Catholic Church.  After all, they seem to have convinced you that it is the Church that lies to you!  How ridiculous you are!
    Where is the Church’s mandatory compulsion to serve?  Where is the Church’s jails?  Where is the Church’s taxes and consequences of not paying them? 
    You are funny!  You really have been sucked into the stupid of secular mentality that the goverment serves the people!!!!
    How FUNNY YOU ARE!!!!

  • http://therantingboy.blogspot.in/ therantingboy

    I suspect a woman with 15 children would have more need for water, food and healthcare than a woman with 2 children. Some women won’t even know about contraception to realise it’s a possibility, so they wouldn’t articulate it terms of “I want contraception” they might say “it’s hard with so many children to feed”. I find it hugely ironic that you’re accusing people of not being able to have a rational discussion when you write for a religious magazine. Because when it comes to your belief in the supernatural, you’re perfectly prepared to throw logic out the window. I’m really not sure what you’re getting at with this article, other than some rather pedantic nitpicking about the term ‘unmet’. Why don’t you make a clear point or offer an alternative solution or perhaps be open about the fact you’re anti contraception rather than being so slippery? Oh by the way, when it comes to contraception, don’t forget it’s not just about preventing unwanted pregnancy but also stopping the spread of STIs like HIV – a virus killing thousands of people in the developing world because the pope continues to lie about the efficacy of condoms.

  • Esnofla

    Why don’t you get your facts straight.  First of all, it’s not the Pope who first said that condoms actually help spread diseases.  It was the head of research at Harvard University who said it first.  He didn’t base his research on God.  He based it on research and facts.  You’re argument is so easily destroyed by the facts.  The researcher in charge of AIDS/HIV prevention came to that conclusion.  Here is a link to his findings and research.  Read it if you dare to learn something that goes against your blind secularist mentality.
     
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2009/03/aids_expert_who_defended_the_p.html
     
    Now, comment on this!  If you dare!!!  But not with rhetoric but with scientific facts.  And if you have the guts to be humble enough, then you should apologize to Roman Catholics that do not believe in the superstition of secularism but the facts of logic and faith.
     
    Tell me how many women you know that have 15 kids.  Not even in Africa do women have such numbers.  Contraception is a horrible idea for developing nations, given the fact of the death rate of children.  If a family has two kids.  How many will survive into adulthood.  Like always, we project our society on others.  This is what makes other nations resent us.  Good health care must come first, not contraceptives.  Otherwise, you will see a horrible result:  women with no children at all.

  • Jeannine

    Actually, the effacacy of condom use is a fallacy. Having easy availability of condoms increases promiscuity which increases the chances of getting AIDS among the at-risk populations. Condom use protects the individual about 80% (maybe a little higher) of the time, a rate I would not want to bet my life on considering that it only takes 1 “event” to contract the virus.

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    These people are just projecting their own views onto poor women,… and every women for that matter.  Just because the ‘great and the good’ don’t want to have children so much…..it doesn’t mean nobody else wants a ‘full quiver’ of children.  Most women will tell you that children are their greatest gift…especially poor women.  And children are a nation’s greatest asset.  Amazing these people refuse to countenace that in the face of demographic meltdown of developed nations.  Surely a case of the blind leading the blind.

    Let these people refrain from telling others they need contraception…..they don’t.  Children are a much better option even, and especially, among the poor.  Growing populations drive development and economic growth.

    I wish the Church could have its own positive campaign…..telling the world that ‘children are a woman’s greatest gift…..and a nation’s greatest asset’.  We’ve heard the elite’s sad, slightly pinched vision for humanity….now let’s hear the Churches vibrant life giving, one. Many women are just waiting to hear a happier Catholic view endorsed.

  • paulpriest

     Primarily the Pope is not lying about the efficacy of condoms – papal [and unswerving Catholic teaching] is quite clear:

    a] sex is for marriage
    b] anyone engaging in extra-marital sexual activity must diminish the intrinsic moral disorder of the sinful act – if this means aggravation through disease transmission or the abortion of a pregnancy – a condom becomes MANDATORY – the lessening of an already grave action.
    c] ANYONE who is [or is potentially] hiv+ MUST ABSTAIN from any sexual activity – even with their partner.

    d] Condoms are only 80% effective in reduction of hiv transmission [Cochrane 2007] therefore they are an unwarranted risk – merely russian roulette.
    e] Rather than being an effective means of combating the disease – condoms promote sexual activity [especially promiscuity] by providing a false, delusory safety which simply does not exist
    f] This can be evidenced by the condom policies of Botswana & Thailand which have seen a geometric rise in hiv+ cases in comparison with the ABC methods of Uganda & the Philippines where the rates have dramtically fallen.
    g] Fallacious & dangerous reliance on condoms can further be determined by the rise in hiv+ cases amongst London homosexual men – 12.9% are now hiv+ – 70% attest to have contracted the disease while using condoms [even if we apply the normative deception factor into the statistics of 60% untruth - this still means 28% of homosexual men actually did contract the disease while engaging in 'safer sex' practices] The situation is even worse in Brighton where condom use is even greater [they won an award for their 'effective' safer sex implementation activity] but the hiv+ rate is now 1-in-6!

    h] The small family = greater social/economic security paradigm in the developing world is simply FALSE.
    The average developing world family requires many children to facilitate any stability at all when it comes to finances, food & water gathering, care for the family, potential educational or social advancement – a family needs bodies to provide the different sources and resources and functions – a small family means they sink, starve and in a crisis have to rely on the assistace of already over-demanded extended family or neighbours.

    i] This is NOT about abolishing world poverty – this is about abolishing the world’s poor – it’s backdoor genocide by omission – rather than slaughtering millions by economic phoney wars or phoney droughts or phoney disease pandemics or western support for corrupt murderous regimes or starving millions by refusal to provide a fairer share of global resources or forcing them to produce cash crops for our markets and starve themselves…this is about the systemic destruction of future millions of people who are unwanted by the west…to ensure they’re kept in their post-imperial rapine manner to which they’ve become accustomed.

    j] What makes you think these women are not given access to contraception?
    Could it possibly be the simple fact that many women are victims of cultural rape by men who will not use contraception?
    Could it possibly be the fact that western agencies gain more profits from the mobile abortuaries than providing effective contraception?
    Could it also be the fact that women DON’T WANT contraception because they are fully aware of the necessity of a larger family to survive in the severe economic deprivation?

    over to you of course…but we Catholics are so ‘evil’ for saying that contraception isn’t a golden panacea which will cure all socio-cultural, financial and medical ills…

    …don’t you get this yet?
    This isn’t about ‘health concerns’ or benefitting the developing world.

    This is a rout of humanity!

  • http://twitter.com/ljmckeever Laura Mckeever

    Considering one woman dies every minute due to poor maternal care and a lack of sexual health resources, I find it ridiculous that you can suggest that contraception constitutes poor health care. 

    “If a family has two kids. How many will survive into adulthood”-In the developed world where healthcare is excellent, plenty. Visit the WHO website and educate yourself on perinatal, infant, and child mortality statistics before ranting about things which you do not understand.

    “Not even in Africa do women have such numbers”.- Care to produce any valid evidence for that claim? Thought not.

    “Women with no children at all”- Do educate us on how countries where contraceptives are accepted continue to repopulate.

    No Roman Catholic is due an apology. If anyone deserves an apology, its the women who continue to suffer because people like you continue to oppress their rights as far as sexual and reproductive health are concerned, and then dress it as an attempt to maintain their morality. Your (lack of) logic makes me sick.

  • http://twitter.com/ljmckeever Laura Mckeever


    The average developing world family requires many children to facilitate any stability at all when it comes to finances, food & water gathering, care for the family, potential educational or social advancement – a family needs bodies to provide the different sources and resources and functions – a small family means they sink, starve and in a crisis have to rely on the assistace of already over-demanded extended family or neighbours.”

    As someone who has just returned from working in the developing world, I can categorically say that your statement there is incorrect. I volunteered in schools where mothers could not afford the £0.15 a day needed to feed their children. I met agricultural volunteers from the US who were at their wits end because they had met men who did not have the financial resources to battle against the drouts that prevent them from producing enough crops to feed their families. 

    You can spout your hyperbolic pseudoscience until you are blue in the face. The fact of the matter is, women are not given a choice with regards to contraceptives. You can sit in your gold plated Vatican and shout about protecting the morality of humanity until you are blue in the face, those of us who have common sense know better.

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    Um….isn’t the answer to have better medical facilities and better healthcare for expectant women….not more contraception.  You are ignoring the fact that many women want many children.  Please don’t project your secular Westernised views onto others.  Apart from anything else….it’s extremely patronising.

  • Sigfridii

    The incomprehensible in full defence of the indefensible!

    What preposterous lengths Catholics are forced to go to in order to defend a doctrine invented by a pope, against the advice even of his own advisors.

    In the western world, fortunately, Catholics are generally educated and wealthy enough to choose contraception appropriately and to be able to afford it, but it is a double insult to the developing world to say to those who desperately need to be able to limit the size of their family both that it is immoral, and that aid money should be spent on “better” things”.

    Without contraception women in countries without adequate health care frequently die in childbirth: the more children they bear, the greater the chances of leaving children motherless, or denying them a mother who is well enough to provide for them. Where these is little food to share, many children means greater poverty for the family. Where AIDS is rife, contraception can provide some protection which is not otherwise available.

    But all for the sake of a warped understanding of “natural law”, and an even more warped understanding of papal authority, Catholic apologists are ready to wish untold suffering upon the human race, rather than permit people to avail themselves of simple means of limiting the number of children they bear.

  • theroadmaster

    The whole unsightly business of very rich western and pampered personalities pouring millions of dollars into global campaigns to regulate family sizes in developing nations, through artificial birth control pills and devices, smacks of imperialistic condescension and paternalism.  It reminds me of words that Jesus used as recorded in Matthew 7:9 to admonish those who in a similar context would fail to look after the proper physical, social and spiritual needs of those in their care..”
    And who is the man among you whose son will ask him for bread and will hand him a stone?.   People in those nations affected by such objectionable programmes, need the benefit of better access to land, water, education, employment and health etc.   Fertility is not a disease to be cured by  potentially cancer-causing, carcinogenic, contraceptive pills and people in cultures which treasure the gift of life and children, must be free to procreate and develop their families according to their social and religious ethos.   More emphasis should be on the ante and post natal care of both mother and child in developing nations through investment in the most up to date healthcare equipment and training for midwives, gynaecologists, nurses and paediatricians, as opposed to another dispiriting and morally bankrupt population-control venture.

  • Buckleyce

    Us with our common sense realize that giving people contraception is not going to stop droughts and help mothers feed their children. The choice regarding contraception is a slogan put out by eugenicists who failed in their attempts to forcibly sterilize Catholics and blacks because in their opinion they were producing too many children. That didn’t work so they then promoted the lie that smaller families would lead to prosperity and women should be able to chose. They offered women contraception which is essentially voluntary self-sterilization. With contraception “one can assist the race towards the elimination of the unfit” so Sanger, or as you propagate save lives. Why would any self respecting woman in Africa want to self-sterilize like women in the West? Melinda Gates is now carrying the eugenicists torch to Africa for Margaret Sanger and the Rockefellers in promoting these bigoted, racist, life loathing, self-sterilizing policies. The racist Sanger is breaking her heart laughing, wherever she is.

  • paulpriest

     People don’t understand the epidemiology of hiv

    It’s actually very hard to seroconvert – a person who comes into direct contact with the hiv virus is 82 times less likely to catch it than the common cold.

    direct contact seroconversion figures:

    90% intravenous injection

    1 in 200 contacts with the virus [active homosexual to passive homosexual]
    1 in 1000 [male to female]
    7 in 10,000 [female to male]
    1 in 2,000 [passive homosexual to active homosexual]

    now as condoms are proven to only provide an 80% effect in risk reduction these figures may be increased fourfold; so averaging out at est 100 sex acts per annum
    it will take the average passive homosexual four years of condomistic sex with an hiv+ partner to be more likely to have seroconverted [i.e. gone above the 50% risk]
    if we remove the hiv+ partner and introduce e.g. a metropolitan figure like London’s 1-in-8 homosexuals being hiv+ [it's actually slightly higher but for mathematical simplicity]
    we have a risk for the the average sexually active London homosexual engaging in condomistic sexual activity with any other homosexual and of statistically seroconverting in 128yrs [passive] 242yrs [versatile] 364yrs [active] [the epidemiological factor of 10 is significantly reduced by availability of potentially infected partners]

    This makes condoms seem like an affordable risk – until you apply it to a general population.[remember 2010 figures reveal 61% of all hiv transmissions are now not within the homosexual community]

    when you cease talking about one person’s chances and extrapolate this into 1,000 or 10,000 ; or London’s 100.000 male homosexuals – this is when the figures for seroconversion amongst those using condoms start to accrue and after only one year those homosexuals with a risk of over 50% seroconversion reaches a figure of 1,150!
    Extrapolate these figures across the country, include heterosexual infection rates & transmission via pregnancy, organ donattion, transfusion and iv infections and you come extraordinarily close to the actual figure of new annual hiv+ cases.

    Conclusion?
    The majority of these cases involve those who are engaging in alleged ‘safer sex’ practices…and even though condom use brings a vastly significant risk reduction in transmission rates and seroconversion…these figures for new hiv infections are nevertheless resultant of a policy wherein this predominantly involved risks which one should have never been taking

  • Esnofla

    Roman Catholics deserve an apology when it comes to defending and respecting life from the moment of conception to its natural end.  Instead of believing in God, you want to play God.  Instead of living in a world already created, you want to create your own world.  Well, let me tell you how it looks.  Look at England.  Godless.  Now take a deeper look:  divorce, separation, teens a mess, teens that murder, teens that are engaging in sex, increases in STD’s, increases in suicide.  Are they lacking food?   Is this the reason why they are a mess?  Are ethey lacking education?  Is this the reason why our children grow up in totally dysfunctional families?  Do you see a correlation between a pathetic, disgusting society and a godless society?  I do.  This is your world and you would like to teach the third world how they should live????

  • Esnofla

    In the United States football is a very popular sport (it’s not soccer).  There has been a growing concern of the use of football helmets.  Why?  Because it turns out that when kids began playing football with helmets that were designed to protect their brains, they began to use their helmets in a very reckless way; that is, in a way that recks their brains.  Interesting…

    Take the same principle now and apply it to condoms.  It seems as though instead of teaching people to have “safe sex”, instead, what we are really doing is encouraging them to have reckless sex.  Because we have given teens the impression that they are invincible.  That might very well explain how in England the birth rate is still atrocious among teens – not because they haven’t been educated on how to slap on a condom, but because they haven’t been educated to respect their bodies.

    The English are not the people that should be teaching other children when their own children are a scandal and a mess that no one considers to be worthy of imitating.

  • paulpriest

     …there’s also the factor that another 50 women are killed every minute [along with 40 men] – they just happen to be in the womb.

  • Esnofla

    Your experience there is YOUR experience.  What are we in Kinder?  Missionaries and priests have been working in Africa before your grandmother was even born.  The problem has never been too many children.  The problem is with the blindness of individuals like you that go there and try to solve immeditate problems but not the long term problems of war that produces famines and starvation or corruption that produces death and destruction. 
    Please spare me your pathetic arguments that never answer my comments.  You think you are the only person that has worked in Africa?  You fool yourself.  The Church, the Roman Catholic Church has been there for centuries.  It was not until the barbaric English came along and divided and manipulated and colonialized these people and turned them into slaves and sold them as cattle.  You do the same thing when you speak about their misery and treat them as if they were too many, like insects! 

  • Esnofla

    Also, why don’t you work in England where teens have plenty of food but need to take drugs.  Why don’t you help them?  Is the reason why teens are getting pregnant in England because they don’t have access to condoms or the pill?  Or is it because they have no respect for their bodies or a sense of decency? 

    Go back to England and do some good because people like you have done plenty of bad!

  • scary goat

    If we took the billion dollars from this campaign and put it with the billions of dollars spent on wars and used that money to do something really useful like farming, water supplies, education and health care instead then those people might have some real choices.

  • srdc

    NFP promotes responsible parenting. My sister and her husband just have two kids with NFP and teach it too. The thing is this not work in a bad marriage or if one spouse is unfaithful. Hence the REAL issues are something else.

    Feminists have failed to address the real issues, and have just empowered selfish men.

  • srdc

    NFP promotes responsible parenting. My sister and her husband just have two kids with NFP and teach it too. The thing is this not work in a bad marriage or if one spouse is unfaithful. Hence the REAL issues are something else.Feminists have failed to address the real issues, and have just empowered selfish men.

  • srdc

    “If Melinda Gates wants to be truly radical and empowering and engage with the profoundly holistic and person-centered Catholic faith which she professes, she would do well to consider that Napro (natural procreative) technology is truly empowering for women — is better for their health (no abortifacient chemicals with health risks attached), is better for relationships between spouses, is better for the environment and costs almost nothing,” said Sarah de Nordwall of the U.K.’s Catholic Voices group. 
    “Coupled with an emphasis on trade justice (much of which needs to come from initiatives in wealthy countries) and the provision of more female-friendly health services, this would provide a much better deal for women, their families and the countries in which they live.”

  • srdc

    “If Melinda Gates wants to be truly radical and empowering and engage with the profoundly holistic and person-centered Catholic faith which she professes, she would do well to consider that Napro (natural procreative) technology is truly empowering for women — is better for their health (no abortifacient chemicals with health risks attached), is better for relationships between spouses, is better for the environment and costs almost nothing,” said Sarah de Nordwall of the U.K.’s Catholic Voices group. “Coupled with an emphasis on trade justice (much of which needs to come from initiatives in wealthy countries) and the provision of more female-friendly health services, this would provide a much better deal for women, their families and the countries in which they live.”Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/melinda-gates-and-her-extreme-makeover-population-control/#ixzz20q77QrFc

  • Lewispbuckingham

     It works fairly well, but you have to be committed, which is why that part has to be taught by the Rand corp as well as governments.It also cuts out the drug companies and Big Pharma, who are a big drain on national health funding.
     One or the unspoken benefits for me and other users is that it allows the husband to know better how his wife is feeling on any day, a boon for greater harmony and closeness in marriage.

  • TreenonPoet

     

    Roman Catholics deserve an apology when it comes to defending and respecting life from the moment of conception to its natural end.

    They deserve no such apology. Moral decisions are often complex. The more relevant factors that can be taken into account, and the more wisely those factors can be weighed, the better. The Catholic Church pretends to promote morality, but opposes it by insisting on adherence to an inadequate set of rules. The defence of life is an admirable rule of thumb, but there are many situations in which it is outweighed by other factors. There are so many possible scenarios that it is difficult to provide general rules for morality, but when attempts are made to formulate such rules, they are opposed by the religions because those rules deviate from their simplistic ‘god-given’ rules. Opposition to reasoned morality is immoral and deserves condemnation.

    Instead of believing in God, you want to play God.

    If someone does not believe in God, how can they possibly want to ‘play God’? And which ‘God’ are you referring to but your own personal god-concept, no doubt heavily based on the various attributes that Catholic dogma ascribe to ‘God’. You criticise Laura Mckeever because she dares to support something which you think your imaginary god opposes. What arrogance! (My guess is that you think only your god determines when life should end, though for some reason you are happy for human intervention in opposition to that god’s will if it prolongs life?)

    Instead of living in a world already created, you want to create your own world.

    That does not make sense either, assuming that you are using the word ‘world’ consistently.

    divorce, separation, teens a mess, teens that murder, teens that are engaging in sex, increases in STD’s, increases in suicide.

    So no Catholics divorce, no Catholics separate, etc? In that case, many who consider themselves to be Catholics are not, and the Roman Catholic Church has failed. Not only has it failed in its own ambitions, but it fails in the eyes of society by the bad example that it sets. Consider, for example, the victims of priestly child abuse who have been driven to suicide. Not only does it fail in the eyes of society, but it actively opposes any moves to improve behaviour which conflict with its own dogma. In weighing up the factors relevant to a moral decision, the supposed thoughts of an imaginary deity have zero weight, yet the Church immorally condemns those who do not believe in God. (Even worse than the effect of the Church on present-day society is the catastophic effect it may have on civilisation itself if it continues to encourage over-population.)

    Are they lacking food? Is this the reason why they are a mess?

    Not yet, but locally and globally, consumption exceeds the sustainable level. The UK is not self-sufficient in food. What do you think would happen if it could no-longer import sufficient food?

    Are ethey lacking education?  Is this the reason why our children grow up in totally dysfunctional families?

    Partly. Teaching religions (even if only as part of collective worship) not only compromises the teaching of rationality and ethics, but also tends to excuse the bad practices embraced by those religions.

    Do you see a correlation between a pathetic, disgusting society and a godless society?  I do.  This is your world and you would like to teach the third world how they should live????

    Can you provide some statistics to support this perceived correlation and, if so, some evidence that that it is not just correlation but causation?

  • paulsays

    I really feel for you, I think your level of self delusion is really worrying. 

  • James H

    The sheer, stupid, obstinate, perverse and willful ignorance of our elites is on prominent display here.
    It takes all of 5 minutes to Google ‘South Africa Census 2005′, and to find out the proportion of Catholics in a country that’s been in the top 3 of AIDS incidence for over 20 years. If these people could be bothered even in the slightest, they’d find that the worst HIV infection rates in the world ‘just happen’ to occur in countries where Catholics make up <10% of the population.

    What's wrong with this picture, O Brights?

    If this gaggle of Free-Thinking, Tolerant, Inclusiveandwelcoming members of the Free Church of Fornication could close their slack, drooling jaws for a few minutes, maybe some thoughts would stay in their crania long enough to form a coherent thought; but then, few of them want to spoil their rants against the church with a few hard questions.

    Like, In how many countries in the world has condom promotion led to a drop in HIV infection rates (hint: it's a nice, round figure)?

    But the truth will out, eventually. Africans and (especially) South Americans are fed to the back teeth with being able to get condoms, IUDs and abortions more easily than mosquito nets, water purification tablets or school-books. And it's the truth which will cause them to fail – all the billions of fast-devaluing American currency, sloshed down the drain of history… by the truth.

  • TreenonPoet

    Who is claiming that the proportion of Catholics is related to the incidence of AIDS?

  • Oconnord

    How are these figures relevant to an article about a summit discussing ” deliver(y of) safe contraception to 120 million women and girls in developing countries”?

    It seems strange to go to such an effort to introduce such detail about gay sex to this article or it’s comments.

  • theroadmaster

    Yeah, the same Catholics who are “educated and wealthy” are prepared to contracept the western nations that they inhabit, into a downward demographic tailspin , which has to be balanced by heavy immigration to keep national workforces up to numerical strength.  This type of trend is unsustainable in those countries, as heavy pressure is brought to bear on social welfare and healthcare budgets to support increasingly graying populations, without the requisite numbers of young employment seekers coming forward to replace them in the jobs sector.  Apart from the negative effect on population levels, contraceptive pills are toxic in both a physical and moral sense.
    Since when has prevention of an naturally occurring and perfectly healthy condition like fertility been logically called “healthcare”?  People in developing nations, want better access to education,healthcare, employment, land, water and housing and not a contraceptive mentality which is an anathema to their social and religious beliefs.
    You seem to have a poor understanding of “natural law”.  Procreation and mutual love are both sides of the same coin when it comes to the sexual act, understand in a healthy human social and religious context.  To separate one from the other by an unnatural barrier, is to undermine the integrity and meaning of the selfless giving which it involves.  People’s suffering would be very much better ameliorated by proper access to such areas as social, education and health services rather than be insulted by birth control campaigns heavily financed by condescending, well-heeled western lobbies.

  • theroadmaster

    Maybe it is you who needs to take a second look and look behind the imperialistic notions inherent in the imposition of the morally bankrupt policies of western lobbies, onto countries which are nothing more than laboratories for their vile social engineering policies.

  • paulpriest

     The Pope is persistently being personally accused of conspiracy with the deaths of millions through his opposition to condoms – the response was in relation to that – ESPECIALLY – considering certain catholic commentators/journalists are declaring condom use is ‘normative pastoral practice’ and are arguing for Rhonheimer’s prophylactic intention where a contraceptive is not deemed a contraceptive because it reduces risk of disease…pertinenet factors in the above indictment by the ranting boy – the major studies have been in hiv+ serodiscordant couples and in homosexual transmission – sorry if simple statistics disturb you.

  • Oconnord

    Rather than use one country to try to support a correlation between low AIDS rates and Catholicism, let us use a better model, Europe. The statistics are more reliable, there is a more comparable standard of living and education and differences in the levels of Catholicism from country to country vary to a large extent.

    So which countries have the highest rate of AIDS? Spain and Portugal which rather refutes your assertion. In fact some of the most “atheist” countries, like Norway, Sweden and Finland, have infection rates far lower than “Catholic” countries like Italy and Ireland. 

    The rate of AIDS infection is six times higher in Portugal than Sweden. I could therefore make the claim that Catholicism increases the incidence of AIDS. But of course I wouldn’t on such limited evidence.

  • Oconnord

    “I would like to know how the Church threatens, badgers and coerces and lies to people in a way that the government doesn’t?”
    Governments do not threaten people with eternal torment after death! That pretty much covers “badgers and coerces and lies to people” too.  That’s a speciality of churches and their “loving” gods.  

  • Oconnord

    Gotcha! I see that yours was a reply, to a reply and so on. I think you are over-complicated in your analysis, it not being strictly relevant to the topic, but I understand the context now. My only defence is that I lost track of the thread, a pretty lame excuse. So apologies from me. 

    “sorry if simple statistics disturb you.”.. They don’t in the least, but perhaps they should. Given the number of gay friends and family I have, maybe I should be disturbed and worried. But I’m simply not, no more than I’m worried for my friends who drive. They are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed. Should I advise them to sell their cars?

    Every behaviour involves risk. I decide for myself and allow others to make their own choices. Do I have a right to tell someone how to dress, for example, just because their dress choice puts them at risk? 

  • Oconnord

    “If a family has two kids.  How many will survive into adulthood.”
    That is of course an unanswerable question. But logic would dictate that in a time of limited resources those two children would be far more likely to survive than children in a family of fifteen with those same limited resources. 

    And of course there are other simple logical considerations. The parents are far more likely to be able to afford to medicate and educate two children than fifteen. The mother would be able to spend more time “contributing” to the welfare of those children as she would not be constantly pregnant or in recovery from child birth. The children themselves would not be older siblings tasked solely with providing or caring for younger siblings. 

  • Oconnord

    The first part of your comment is a series of rhetorical points to comments no-one made. But then it gets delusional.

    “It was not until the barbaric English came along and divided and manipulated and colonialized these people and turned them into slaves and sold them as cattle.”

    England did not introduce slavery to Africa, it had long been practised by Africans to a lesser degree and Islam to a larger extent. Neither was it the sole “white christian country” to do so.

    England was of course guilty of barbaric acts in Africa, but so was every other European “power” at the time. The English were no better or worse, than for example, the Belgians in The Congo. It is also a historical fact that they all operated with the full support of Church. In fact it was not Catholics who lobbied for abolition in England, it was a certain William Wilberforce. Pope Gregory VI’s ruling in 1839 was a condemnation of the “Slave Trade” but not a condemnation of slavery. Six years after the English banned slavery in “The Empire”.

    It’s seems to me that you are blind to facts and fooling yourself about reality, and thankfully you prove it every time you post. These facts are verifiable historic events not some issue that you can twist at whim. 

  • Oconnord

    Sorry to nitpick but NFP does not promote responsible parenting, it provides a way of limiting pregnancies. I’m sure you’ll agree there’s a vast difference between being a parent, and being a responsible parent. It’s quite possible that a child conceived in an irresponsible way could be raised responsibly… and vice versa.

    Surely that has nothing to do with your latter point that bad marriages go wrong. ( Though I fail to see what you point is. Men? Feminists? Adulterers? Lack of empowerment?) 

  • Buckleyce

    Thanks, but dilusional are unfortunately those of you who have fallen for the pseodo-enlightenment/secular population control policy sold as a women’s health issue- the woman’s right to choose!- to do what actually? To ingest chemicals to suppress the female body’s natural biological reproduction functions i.e. temporarily self sterilize, and for what purpose? – the promise of possible individual prosperity with breast cancer and bone degeneration as side effects. What woman in her right mind would do that?  

    These eugenicist ‘women’s health and rights’ policies have resulted in declining birth rates and the increased need for immigration from those countries that have high birth rates. Latest news: the population of the UK is 63 million and half of the increase are immigrants from large family countries needed here to pay for the older two or no child UK households. 

    Delusion is when people believe that wealth is created by having smaller families as if the mighty British Empire was established by 2 or no child family households or the wealth of the industrial revolution was also created by contracepting or aborting children. I think not. Smaller families are the effect of the increased wealth. The children of large families established, maintained and policed the British Empire as well as worked in the factories and mines to produce the wealth of Industrial Revolution. Delusional are those who still repeat the old anti-papist slogan that Catholics blindly follow the Pope and uncritically adhere to the Church’s teaching as if they don’t blindly regurgitate these old slogans as well as the pseudo-enlightenment, eugenicist population control ideology. They don’t realise that lots of Catholics understand, appreciate and wholeheartedly support the 2000 year wisdom and teaching of the Church and understand that the huge disparity between the rich and poor is addressed by Catholic social teaching and is worsened by secular/eugenicist/birth control policies.

  • rjt1

    Hell barely gets a mention nowadays. It’s mentioned so little in fact that even you couldn’t feel offended.

    However, it should be mentioned, since to reject God’s love is to consign oneself to the pain of a self-inflicted loss of happiness for eternity.

  • TreenonPoet

     So is your solution to the population problem to deny that it exists?

  • paulsays

     You don’t have to be a eugenicist to believe that condoms are a good idea to prevent aids.

    To smear people who are genuinely trying to solve tragedy of AIDs, and of poverty using contraception – by referring to Eugenicists of the early 20th century is unfair to say the least.

    Melinda Gates is not interested in forced sterilisation, nor could she be conceived as racist. No she only wants to do the best – that is clear, and regardless of whether you feel she is going the wrong about helping her – you should at least give her the credit for trying.

    Crops fail, and crops only have the ability to feed to many, so to try and voluntarily encourage people to reduce family size is perfectly sensible. God wants us to nurture and raise children – but not to the extent that we have so large families that the grow ill and starve from hunger. Why would you, God or the Church want starving children?

  • paulsays

    miss posted

  • paulpriest

     Thanks – and yes there are risks but there are also blatantly unnecessary risks and deplorable risks to other people’s lives…

    Anyone with hiv should not be engaging in penetrative sexual activity – irrespective of how many alleged ‘sexual health’ websites reassure them that condom use is safe – the statistics show they are not

    [& it's not simply condom integrity 1.2-3.4% latex & 0.8-5.8 polyurethane [yes the extra-safe ones can be less safe [spanish producers had a safety level of 94.5% until EU intervention two years ago]] ]

    ..the majority of transmissions are inadvertent cross contamination & given the epidemiology [how hard it is to seroconvert] this form of transmission is endemic.

    The major issue is ideological medical advice which is not safe and risks millions

    What is stopping medical advisers telling the general public “even though you’re using contraception – if you don’t want to conceive limit your sexual activity to outside the potential ovulation period’ ? Always be double-safe…

    They won’t do it…hence we have 62% of all abortions being directly linked to contraception failure & another 21% due to self-confessed contraception misuse.

    If we want to save lives and reduce unwanted pregnancies – the first issue to be addressed is the truth.

  • paulsays

    Economic growth does not come from larger families. Larger families are a bigger financial cost – and help pull families into poverty – which is hardly good for the children involved.

    In Britain, a responsible couple decides to have a child when they know they are in a position where they have the money to be able to bring up the child well – do you think that is a bad idea? ..because in the cases of the families Melinda Gates is involved with the people are hundreds of times poorer than a struggling family in Britain.

  • theroadmaster

    Large families are a necessary reality in developing nations where economic hardship would result otherwise.  You seem to be putting the socio-economic cart in front of the horse, as it is through the development of a country’s economic potential via the improved educational, health and socio-economic status of it’s people, that progress will be realized.
    Responsible parenting can be carried out via a couple appreciating the natural biological rhythms of the woman’s body, and not through potentially cancer-causing, life-denying contraceptive pills.  Melinda Gates is inadvertently promoting this morally bankrupt policy which will no nothing for a country’s social or economic progress and instead cause demographic instability and disrupt  the mutual unity between the procreative and unitive aspects of the sexual act involving married couples

  • theroadmaster

    Check this site out, as it may disabuse you of the overpopulation myth that you seem to be supporting-http://overpopulationisamyth.com/

  • TreenonPoet

     Thanks, but the link does not work for me. If, by any chance, it is meant to be the same link that James H posted on another thread, then my reaction is the same as I posted there (essentially that it is over-optimistic, and does not make clear the consequences for our standard of living). I would just add that the organisation behind the site (Population Research Institute of Virginia) describe themselves as a pro-life organisation (thus declaring a bias) and is funded by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which makes me suspect that the omissions in the video are deliberate and constitute propaganda, not education.

    The information I linked to in the post to which you responded stems from an article in the reputable journal Nature. I could link to many more sources (and have done in other threads) that demonstrate the seriousness of our predicament. It may be comforting not to believe any of it, but is it not more comforting to know that there is chance of avoiding disaster by making more people see the problem?

  • http://twitter.com/LaCatholicState la catholic state

    That’s short-term idiocy.  Large families prevent the stultifying effects of an ageing society.  In fact…development comes to a standstill in a society that is neither growing or declining….but there is plenty of opportunity for development and economic progress in a young vibrant society.  Of course, ageing societies are a non starter economically speaking…..and must import lots of already grown children ie young adults to merely survive.

    Ms Gates should not impose her slightly offish view of children and large families onto others.  Many people find it a highly unattractive attitude to marriage and family life.  Children are our greatest wealth and source of love and happiness.  No need for stuffiness.