Blog Post

Nigerian Woman Takes on Melinda Gates

obianuju ekeochaCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The announcement that the Gates Foundation is contributing $375 million for family planning efforts in Africa has sparked the ire of a Nigerian pro-life leader who is irked by the idea of a billionaire telling African women what to do with their bodies. is reporting on the rebuke by Obianuju Ekeocha, a Nigerian-born biomedical scientist and the founder of Culture of Life Africa, a U.K.-based pro-life group which took place during an appearance on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Live show.

During the interview, Ekeocha said 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 by African women "is actually quite high.”

In other words, African women don't want contraception.

Ekeocha was responding to an announcement made last week by Melinda Gates that her Foundadtion would contribute an additional $375 million to global family planning programs after President Donald J. Trump expanded a policy that bans taxpayer funds from going to overseas organizations that perform or promote abortion.

“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 at the time.

Ekeocha was not impressed with Gates’ reasoning.

“ . . . [T]here 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,” she said.

“I’m sure Melinda Gates means well, but you see the problem is there is an arrogance . . .” in her approach to African women.

Gates’ arrogance was on full display last week when she intimated that Pope Francis might one day realize why Church teaching on contraception should change to fit her point-of-view that the way to lift women out of poverty is to prevent them from having children.

But this is not what African want! As Ekeocha pointed out, the question not being asked in these discussions is what do African women want?

In most of the African countries, research has continually shown that the number of children African women want is actually quite high. In their culture, people value children and big families, she said.

“ . . . [W]hat are you saying to the women if you continue to push their governments towards the so-called family planning projects?”

It's saying that what African women want doesn't matter. It's what the Gates Foundation thinks they want that counts.

In a recent blog, Ekeocha said she would like to see the Gates Foundation use their money to pay for what African women really want: good healthcare, especially prenatal, neonatal and pediatric care; food programs for young children; good higher education programs; chastity programs; support for micro-business opportunities for women; and help for organizations who are protecting women from sex-trafficking, forced marriage, child labor and domestic violence.

Putting so much money into contraceptives is just buying misery for African women, she wrote.

“I see it buying us unfaithful husbands. I see it buying us streets devoid of the innocent chatter of children. I see it buying us disease and untimely death. I see it buying us a retirement without the tender loving care of our children.

“Please Melinda, listen to the heart-felt cry of an African woman and mercifully channel your funds to pay for what we REALLY need.”

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