Posted on | October 2, 2012 by Wendy Wright |
Now that the London Family Planning Summit is a memory and world leaders have gone home, what comes next?
Melinda Gates is keeping the spotlight on her priority of encouraging women not to have children by writing articles from her travels that are posted on partner organizations’ websites. Partner organizations are hiring consultants and holding seminars to monitor and pressure governments to spend money on contraception.
Despite Melinda reporting that everywhere she goes women say they want contraception, partner organizations admit that a primary obstacle to their goal of dispersing birth control is a lack of demand by poor women. Apparently their first problem of meeting the “unmet need for contraception” is that the targeted women don’t know that they need contraception.
A Ugandan newspaper reported on efforts to pressure members of Parliament to ensure the president lives up to his pledge made at the London Summit to increase spending on family planning from $3.3 million to $5 million annually.
Noting that 90% of Ugandans know about contraceptives but only 30% choose to use them, it includes this telling interview:
Back in Mayuge, Rukia Nangobi has her own view about the money the government has committed towards family planning; she says it should go into helping women like her to provide for their children.
Yet if women like her knew and understood the burden of having an unmanageable family, they would not be crying out for help from the government.
This validates my colleague Susan Yoshihara’s observation to Newsweek:
“You don’t tell a woman dying of an ectopic pregnancy that she should have used a female condom. To say that we’re going to help women not die in childbirth by telling them that they shouldn’t get pregnant in the first place, I think, borders on scandalous,”
Melinda and her family planning handlers say we should listen to women. The question is: Are they?