Africa’s “baby bonanza” a product of Bush-era policies

Here’s another lasting legacy of the administration of George W. Bush:

At age 45, after giving birth to 13 children in her village of thatch roofs and bare feet, Beatrice Adongo made a discovery that startled her: birth control.

“I delivered all these children because I didn’t know there was another way,” said Adongo, who started on a free quarterly contraceptive injection last year. Surrounded by her weary-faced brood, her 21-month-old boy clutching at her faded blue dress, she added glumly: “I fear we are already too many in this family.”

On a continent where fewer than one in five married women use modern contraception, an explosion of unplanned pregnancies is threatening to bury Adongo’s family and a generation of Africans under a mountain of poverty.
Promoting birth control in Africa faces a host of obstacles — patriarchal customs, religious taboos, ill-equipped public health systems — but experts also blame a powerful, more distant force: the U.S. government.
Under President George W. Bush , the United States withdrew from its decades-long role as a global leader in supporting family planning, driven by a conservative ideology that favored abstinence and shied away from providing contraceptive devices in developing countries, even to married women.

Bush’s mammoth global anti-AIDS initiative, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, poured billions of dollars into Africa but prohibited groups from spending any of it on family planning services or counseling programs, whose budgets flat-lined.

The restrictions flew in the face of research by international aid agencies, the U.N. World Health Organization and the U.S. government’s own experts, all of whom touted contraception as a crucial method of preventing births of babies being infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Birth control works, and it’s a shame the Bush Administration wouldn’t look past their own rigid ideology to give African women the opportunity to make informed choices regarding their reproductive options. After all, how many hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of children will be born into the most abject poverty imaginable thanks to the shortsighted policies of George W. Bush and those in his administration?


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6 thoughts on “Africa’s “baby bonanza” a product of Bush-era policies

  1. Love this post. A topic near and dear to my heart. However…as much as Bush is to blame for his stupid ideology so are many other countries. I hate feeling like we (US) are in this fight alone all the time. Blame does not lay on our shoulders alone.

    Also…a problem BC wouldn’t help is the horrific numbers of rapes and the children born from rape.

    One last point…I think…when speaking about policy…everyone has some responsibility. Family planning is very important…but I have to ask why is abortion always tied into family planning? Can’t both sides give a little? Family planning without the promotion of abortion??

    1. Anon, birth control would help with the number of children born from rapes, but you’re right that it wouldn’t help reduce the number of rapes one bit. As to birth control and abortion being tied together, I don’t believe they need to be tied to each other, but I think it’s wrong to promote any policy that doesn’t present women with all the family planning options available to them – from abstinence to contraceptives.

      1. You’re right if the women are taking oral contraceptives…but I personally think oral contraceptives aren’t healthy for women…not that I’m saying women shouldn’t take them if they want…though. To help prevent pregnancy and HIV…I think a campaign to promote condoms would be better.

        I agree…education on all of the options is important and necessary.

  2. Anon, the anti-abortion lobby isn’t content to allow family planning without abortion. They also go after hormonal contraception (with claims that it can cause an abortion by preventing implantation). Some of them go so far as to say that family planning of any kind undermines the “culture of life” — the idea that sex should result in pregnancy.

    1. Ordinary Jill…

      Does the “anti-abortion lobby” mean the religious right hypocrites? It’s just another reason why religion has no place in government/policy…IMO.

  3. I can almost guarantee that if the support were not cut off this would happen:

    This, like all African aid we have pissed away there over the years, would have ended up in the hands of corrupt kleptocrats which would have stayed away from the people it would have intended. This provides a further whipping post that you intellectually dishonest twerps could use against W; i.e. they would go around saying Bush and evil African dictator are “in bed together”. Im sorry, but I’m not taking that bait-and-switch.

    Bottom line: Bush has been out of office for almost a year now. Your boy Obama ACTUALLY HAS FAMILY MEMBERS on that continent and he hasn’t done shit to help them prosper. Besides you grasping this dry ass straw man, Bush (and Bill Clinton) have done more to lift Africans out of poverty through freer trade than any union member ever has.

    On a related note, if Bush’s stance on birth control upsets you, you’ll be glad to know that you folks who obsess over the environment have done more damage to that continent to the tune of millions of unnecessary deaths through you obsession with DDT. Pretty sure malaria has murdered that continent when it could have been prevented.

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