“A desire to bring every good thing to my child before I have another”

Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation have announced a new initiative, and it’s one that might just bring a little mist to the eyes:

(The video is long, but like most TED talks it is well worth getting through.)

The Gates Foundation is working toward two new goals:

  • Make contraception available to anyone in the world who desires it
  • Instigate research into new forms of contraception, preferably methods that do not involve use of hormones

Indeed, the latter goal is something that has gone by the research wayside over the last 50 years. There has been no serious scientific work on new contraceptive methods since the advent of the birth control pill in the ’50s and ’60s.

Gates makes telling points in her speech:

  1. Controlled studies beginning in the 1960s in the Matlob district of Bangladesh have shown that villages that had regular access to contraception had healthier, longer-lived, and better educated children, and the villages were more resource-rich (arable land, livestock, and savings).
  2. Anti-contraception groups (such as the Catholic Church) attempt to attach the issues of abortion and draconian population control onto efforts at making contraception available to women in third-world countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and China. Gates states that those efforts highlight side issues that detract from the important ones. (Gates has also stated that she does not approve of abortion.)
  3. The “miracle” of Asian economic development in the 1980s was greatly fueled by the cultural shift in most of the affected countries to have smaller families.
  4. The most effective method to bring about the best conditions for children is to work on contraception as voluntary population control from the bottom up (at the family level) rather than mandatory efforts from the top down (government dictates and legislation).

Gates makes additional points here:

[She] believes that by focusing on the lives of women and children, and by making it clear that the agenda is neither coercive population control nor abortion, the controversy over international family-planning programs can be defused. Right now, she points out, 100,000 women annually die in childbirth after unintended pregnancies. Six hundred thousand babies born to women who didn’t want to be pregnant die in the first month of life.


Part of what Gates hopes to do is to re-create the former broad-based consensus behind global family planning, but in a way that’s focused on women’s needs rather than on demographics. “This is about empowering women to be educated and to make a choice that they want to make,” she says. “And if you look at what happens demographically because of that choice, you then get some of these outcomes that people were hoping to get worldwide.”

It was so nice to hear some good news about someone who has the power and resources to make things happen.

And that is one of those “every good things”.

And also, lest anyone get the idea that wingnuts might consider the notion that voluntarily controlling the size of one’s family might be a good idea…think again:

There’s a lollipop for anyone who can find a promotion of abortion or an attack upon Catholics in her speech.

(A bear hug and a warm soft kiss to The Spouse for bringing this one to my attention.)

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It is all a matter of choice

From the Planned Parenthood site — patient care provided by Planned Parenthood affiliates:

So yes, PP does offer abortion services — for 3% of its over 11 million clients.

However, keep in mind that PP is the source of contraception material and STD screenings for the poor and students. My daughter uses PP for her birth control; without that, she could well have had one (or more) children for whom she would be financially unable to care.

Face it, folks. Anti-choice advocates are using their protests against Planned Parenthood to smokescreen the real issue:

They don’t want anyone giving the needy contraception options, disease screening and treatment, and the opportunity to prevent bringing an unwanted baby to term.

And don’t give me that song and dance about adoption being a viable option. The overwhelming (over 90%) number of prospective adoptive parents are white folk who won’t take anything but a completely healthy, Caucasian newborn with an impeccable record of pre-natal care. If you can’t deliver that, your baby will likely never be adopted.

(Thanks to Mike S. for the tip.)

I’m very confused, but he’s not.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul fashions himself as the libertarian standard bearer who will carry on his father’s political legacies after Ron Paul goes to that great Objectivist Utopia in the sky.

However, it seems that the libertarian rules of “less government, more personal freedom” have gone out the window. He’s now flip-flopping for government intervention at the womb level:

Senator Paul is now pushing for popular support for legislation that calls for a definition of “personhood” that goes all the way back to the moment of conception. This would satisfy both the anti-choice religious airheads who demand that the womb belongs to God and the anti-choice political airheads who demand that womb belongs to the State. It would mean hundreds of thousands of unwanted pregnancies, and hundreds of thousands of illegal abortions.

The law would thus prevent any sort of contraception that doesn’t prevent sperm from penetrating ova. That would outlaw everything except condoms and diaphragms/cervical caps — two contraceptive methods that are known for their relatively high levels of failure.

Of course Prince Paul the Younger has let the cat of the political bag early. He showing his true colors here; he no more wants less government and more personal freedom than his old man. They’re just another couple of right-wing Rethuglican morons who use the youth vote to grasp power.

“Let’s party like it’s 1399!”

Frothy Mix Santorum wants to become president and outlaw all non-procreational sex.

“The state has a right to do that [rescind access to contraception], I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that. It is not a constitutional right, the state has the right to pass whatever statutes they have…”

President Frothy would allow no access to contraception at all. No condoms, pills, diaphragms, caps, foams, jellies, IUDs, Plan Bs, and certainly no abortions.

No way for women to prevent paying the price of pregnancy for the “sin” of sex. (Someone call H. L. Mencken.)

No help for mothers whose health or lives are threatened by unwanted pregnancies.

No sex at all unless procreation is a potential outcome.

No freedom of choice for heterosexual expression at all. (And no homosexuality at all, per Frothy’s perorations. He is so far back in the closet he can’t even see the damned door.)

In other words, the uterus would be owned by the state.

Anyone care to guess how much of Frothy Mix’s campaign chest comes from Catholic sources?

“Choco ration’s going up!”

When Parsons announces this rumor Winston Smith in 1984, he neatly illustrates the Orwellian concept of Newspeak. Later that day Smith’s work at the Ministry of Records requires him to edit past editions of the news so that the “current” ration becomes 20 grammes rather than the real ration of 30 grammes.

When the official news announces at the communal meal that the ration is “going up” to 25 grammes, everyone applauds.

Republican policymakers have learned that lesson quite well.

The secret here is to take a grain of truth, spin an elaborate lie about, say it often enough to make a talking point out of it, and then it takes on a “truth” of its own.


“This is the Patriarchy — a social-interactive construct that bombards us with misogyny.”

Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum must not like sex very much.

His very name has become synonymous with the results of anal sex which I strongly doubt he indulges in, and would likely be horrified were he to encounter it. (Thank you so much for that, Dan Savage.)

And now he’s got a new sex gig. Yes, ladies of the audience, Rick Santorum has declared a battle on the “dangers of contraception“:

Frothy Mix also believes that women who are the victims of rape and incest have no right to request an abortion, claims that marriage equality will lead to incest, bigamy, and pedophilia, and has said all manner of unkind things about homosexuality and gay marriage.

And now he is heralding a call to return to the bad old days when the Pill put the stigma of “slut” upon women, doctors would only prescribe diaphragms to women who were married or about to be, and only married men could legally buy condoms. (Do not for one moment forget that condoms, an inexpensive form of contraception, prevents unwanted pregnancies and puts a brake on the spread of many STDs, including HIV.)

Many Republicans and teabaggers want women locked into a struggle on two fronts: on one, Frothy Mix and other political and religious nutjobs are pushing to limit or eliminate access to contraceptive materials; on the second, the same bunch of misogynistic wackaloons are also pushing to remove any sort of funding (public or otherwise) for abortion and contraception services. This double whammy places women into the position of risking pregnancy and childbirth, wanted or not, every time they have sex. This is just the sort of situation to make religious patriarchal pinheads happy.

But then you knew that Frothy Mix was a staunch colluder in the Patriarchy, didn’t you?