... the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates is no slacker to sit back at the lake and watch the sunset. What she wants to do with her fortune is to help the poorest women in the world have what the rest of us take for granted: birth control.
So she and her friends at the U.K.’s State Department organized the London Summit on Family Planning on Wednesday, dedicated to bringing contraceptive services to an additional 120 million women and girls by the year 2020.
Then Melinda graciously announced that she and Bill had talked, and they decided to increase their spending on family planning to over $1 billion. They tallied the day’s take and, guess what, they announced jubilantly they had exceeded their $4 billion goal.
But wasn’t this a little surreal? No one disagreed. Everyone was breathless with success and brimming with enthusiasm. Family planning was cool again, and it was driving a BMW. Where were the usual right-wing zealots who bog these meetings down, fretting about the “the full range of reproductive health services,” including abortion?
Was there not a single evangelical in London? No dour Catholic to throw cold theology on this? No cranky American politician to protest taxpayers’ money being spent abroad when people at home are struggling? .....
.... And there was the little slip up by Korea’s ambassador to Britain. When Korea was introduced as a “model for the world,” because it brought its “contraceptive prevalence rate” to 100 per cent from something dismal 50 years ago, he said they were actually now struggling with a low birth rate and “perhaps we overdid it.”
Yikes. But then he gave his money and it was forgotten.
...... The media was kind, highlighting how Melinda was valiantly pitching herself against the patriarchal Catholic Church. She even looked like she was defending it when she said she is a practising Catholic and only dislikes some of its teaching.
“This is not about abortion. This is not about population control,” she said. It might all be funded by the super wealthy white, like it used to be, but this has nothing to do with those rotten old plans of forcing vasectomies on railway platforms in the 1970s. So no one mentioned that by chance, on the very same day as the summit, the government of Jaipur, the largest city in Rajasthan, launched its drive to sterilize 100,000 women in just two weeks.
And certainly there was no mention of the complaint to the Supreme Court today, of Indian women being maimed and killed, bleeding to death on straw mats following “sterilization camps” throughout India that receive U.K. and U.S. family planning funding.
China was not even whispered. Nothing about the black market for babies or female infanticide and sex selective abortion that has skewed the births of boys to girls to 137:100 in some places.
It was politely ignored that most of the civil society organizations attending were also the biggest abortion providers (International Planned Parenthood Federation, Population Services International and Marie Stopes International).
And no one asked why Merck, Pfizer and other pharmaceutical giants at the summit, whose contraceptive profits will soar to an estimated $17 billion by 2015 because of the expanding market, need governments subsidizing their drugs.
Or if their testing of new injectable contraceptives on Senegalese and Ugandan women isn’t just a tad exploitative.
Melinda, the First Lady of Family Planning, has launched an upgraded version of family planning that is rolling out across the globe, and who, but the most raving lunatic, will oppose it?