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Contraceptive Imperialism and Third World Poverty


In many third world countries today aid packages are more likely to contain contraceptives than life saving medicines.


We now can say, "It's your fault. If you'd just stop making babies, you wouldn't be living in poverty." Instead of corn meal, we ship them condoms. Rather than artificial contraceptives, which can have life threatening complications, always seem to be paired with abortion, and frequently undermine third world societal structures, there is the Church's alternative of Natural Family Planning. Safe, cheap, and effective, this method confers considerable power to couples to control their fertility for both achieving and, when couples have a serious reason to do so, preventing conception. It is time the misconception that Catholicism is synonymous with ineffective birth control and that her teachings against abortion and contraception are the major hurdle in eliminating poverty around the world be laid to rest.

It is startling how popular anti-Catholicism is becoming in late twentieth century America. Although the critics often do not name a particular church as the object of their disdain, the Catholic Church is the only worldwide institution that still relentlessly defends the traditional Judeo-Christian positions on contraception and abortion that are being attacked. This anti-Catholicism reaches to the highest levels of our society. Al Gore illustrated this attitude several months ago on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade when he stated that if only that "minority within the minority" of pro-lifers would give up their age-old opposition to birth control, we could forge some common ground and decrease unwanted pregnancies. We have already had several decades of the sexual revolution, contraception and legalized abortion. During the same period the rate of unwanted pregnancies and abortions has skyrocketed. If society adhered to the very Judeo-Christian morality that these critics abhor, can anyone deny that these problems would improve dramatically?

Having spent time doing medical missionary work in Haiti, I know first hand the effects of the contraceptive imperialism the USA imposes on the third world. It costs pennies to effectively treat many of the diseases from which Haitians suffer. But when a Haitian mother brings a dying child to a government clinic for a couple cents worth of antibiotics or antimalarial medications necessary to save his life, there are few or none available on the shelves. But there are millions of dollars worth of contraceptives available in Haiti. Or when a Kenyan woman goes to a hospital with an infected uterus due to the IUD some doctor implanted without her knowledge after her last delivery, she may die due to lack of a clean, well equipped operating room. But if she desires a tubal ligation, she can be immediately escorted into a new, clean, well equipped operating room stocked only for that purpose by kind, compassionate population controllers in the West. And the church hospitals are left trying to pick up the pieces. I and my peers who do missionary work in the third world have personally seen cases like these happening with increasing frequency. Is this the type of compassion for which we want America to be known?

Of course, we justify the need for our contraceptive imperialism by pointing out the "overpopulation" of the developing countries. Let's examine the concept of poverty versus overpopulation. Poverty can be defined as too many people for the resources available in a geographic region. When we see humans living in poverty, we feel a certain solidarity with them. Our consciences tell us of our duty to help them out of their misery with food, shelter, infrastructure, and the means to develop their economy.

Remember. Verbal engineering always precedes social engineering. By calling poverty by a new name, "overpopulation," we remove the burden for their condition from our conscience. No longer do we feel the need to feed them. We now can say, "It's your fault. If you'd just stop making babies, you wouldn't be living in poverty." Instead of corn meal, we ship them condoms. Instead of antibiotics, we send them IUDs. We feel morally superior for our great act of compassion, while they continue starving and dying.

We're also destroying their societal structures. Haitian families often have eight children or more. Their infant mortality rate is so high, only 50% survive to age five. Still more perish before age 15. A couple starting with eight children can expect only two to three to survive to adulthood. These parents rely on their children to provide for them in their old age. In Haiti there is no social security check. They have very little food, clean water, few jobs, little hope. By imposing our contraceptive imperialism on them, we are taking away their families, the only comfort they have left. Can we see how truly sinister this is? In America we can provide enough food to feed the entire world population. Yes, the entire world! The problem is lack of distribution of available resources, not "overpopulation." But our government pays our farmers not to farm their fields to keep the price of grains up on the world market. Meanwhile Haitians an hour and a half flight from our shores starve to death and die of diseases we eradicated here decades ago.

Chemical "contraceptives" and abortion drugs such as RU486 are advanced as a panacea for the world's ills. Few comprehend that the birth control pill, Norplant, and DepoProvera injections ALL allow breakthrough ovulation from 10 to 50% or more of a woman's cycle. When this occurs, they spontaneously abort a fertilized egg by preventing its implantation in the altered uterine lining formed under the influence of these hormonal medications. They are therefore abortifacient in nature, not contraceptive, at least part of the time. They are strictly abortifacient when used as morning after combinations because conception has already occurred. Once the egg has been fertilized, a growing human being is being killed, regardless if there are only one cell or a million present.

The lists of life threatening complications from these chemicals in the Physicians Desk Reference make one wonder why any woman would voluntarily allow her health to be threatened by these products. The dangers of these medications are so well known that the federal Food and Drug Administration assigns them to a class of medications that protects physicians who prescribe them from litigation arising from possible complications. Another drug, RU486, is utilized up to the 9th to 12th week of gestation to initiate the spontaneous abortion of a growing baby. As far as safety is concerned, complete cardiovascular collapse and death immediately following administration of RU486 has been reported in the European medical literature.

One should not confuse contraception and abortion, regardless of his position on the subject. Even the most atheistic embryologist must admit that human life begins at conception. What else could it possibly be but human life? Ask any expectant mother what it is they carry in their womb and they will tell you it's a baby. It does not require Divine revelation to arrive at this conclusion. Often the wisdom of the simple and lowly is far greater than that of the self-anointed elite.

When contraception is accepted by society as a way of life and those contraceptives fail, what happens? A pregnancy occurs. But how do we now correct this "failure?" In 1987 the United States Supreme Court admitted that a society that contracepts must have abortion available as the consequence of widespread contraception. Fifty percent of women obtaining abortions today were contracepting when they became pregnant. No country in the twentieth century has accepted widespread contraception without legalizing abortion within one to three decades. Abortion follows the contraceptive mentality as night follows day. They are both fruits of the same tree of rejection of traditional Judeo-Christian morality. This fact is unpopular even with some pro-life advocates. But the logic cannot be denied. Abortion will never be defeated until the contraceptive mentality from which it grows is replaced with the consent of the will to the wisdom of God's laws.

Finally, for those married couples with a serious reason to limit or space pregnancies, the Catholic Church supports the most effective, cheapest, and safest method known to modern science. The Sympto-thermal method of Natural Family Planning, not to be confused with the unreliable rhythm method, has been proven to be 95 to 99% effective. An article in the British Medical Journal of March 1993 entitled "Natural Family Planning: Effective Birth Control Supported by the Catholic Church," states:

Increasingly studies show that rates equivalent to those with other contraceptive methods are readily achieved...Indeed, a [World Health Organization] study of 19843 poor women in India had a pregnancy rate approaching zero [99.2%]...whatever the standpoint there is no doubt that it would be more efficient for the ongoing world debate on overpopulation, resources, environment, poverty, and health to be conducted against a background of truth rather than fallacy. It is therefore important that the misconception that Catholicism is synonymous with ineffective birth control is laid to rest. Understanding the simple facts about the signs of fertility confers considerable power to couples to control their fertility, for achieving as well as preventing conception.

Unfortunately, the multi billion dollar contraception and abortion industry would suffer greatly from just such knowledge in the hands of couples. Therefore, they and their advocates have a vested interest in keeping the knowledge of the effectiveness of Natural Family Planning from the masses who would otherwise buy their products. Thus, the derision of the Catholic Church and her teachings continues.

Once I teach a woman the art of Natural Family Planning, I may never see her again. There is no monetary gain for me. I will never get paid for an office visit to renew a prescription or a surgical fee to implant a device. But I have given her a power, an independence, a freedom of choice she will never receive in a contraception or abortion clinic. And what greater price is there to pay for the mistake of an unplanned pregnancy than to become the victim of the abortionist. Nothing an "anti-abortion extremist" could say or do to a woman compares to this act of violence against a woman's body, against her very nature as a bearer of life. And as victims of the lie and violence that is abortion, these women need our love, aid, and prayers, not our scorn. Many pro-life organizations across America, such as the nondenominational Mom's House, Inc. of Johnstown, PA, exist to help prevent women from becoming victims of unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

Many have tried to censor us and prevent the teachings of the Catholic Church from being heard over the centuries. But our right to engage in the democratic process as voting citizens of this country cannot be denied. For the pro-abortionist or atheist to say that our ideas have no place in public discourse or public policy is to attempt to deny our fundamental rights. It is a very dangerous and un-American individual who tries to censor or eliminate views other than his own from the marketplace of public opinion.



Kopp, Brian. Contraceptive Imperialism and Third World Poverty. unpublished paper, 1998.

Offered by permission of the author.

The Author

Brian Kopp, DPM, Richland Instructor, Natural Family Planning of the Alleghenies Member, Corporate Board of Trustees, Mom's House Inc. Member, Board of Trustees, Counselors for Life.

Anyone wishing to receive more information or documentation of any of the points above, feel free to contact: Brian J. Kopp, DPM, 303 Budfield Street, Johnstown, PA 15904. (814) 266-6124

Copyright © 1998 Brian Kopp
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