Malawi, a southeastern African country of 13 million people, is waking up. Targeted by Western organizations for “family planning” goals that are conceived in New York, Brussels, and London, Malawi and many other African countries increasingly find themselves having to look into the mouths of gift horses from the “developed” world. The elites who cite the need to reduce maternal mortality often seem to have only one solution – preventing motherhood, by any means necessary.
I have seen first-hand Malawi’s life-loving culture, Malawians appreciate God’s gift of children. Even Pope Francis commended the Malawians in his November 6th address at the Vatican:
“I wish…to express my appreciation for the admirable spirit of the Malawian people, who, though faced with many serious obstacles in terms of development, economic progress and standards of living, remain strong in their commitment to family life,” Pope Francis said November 6 at the Vatican.
For years the Malawi government, as with many African governments, has been told by Western allies to reduce their population. The way to do this is by promoting contraceptives and abortion rights. Unfortunately, the more people adopt this anti-life mindset, the more they share in the problems of the West, including infertility, which is increasing among many reproductive age women.
To implement family planning programs, governments accept the support of NGOs. Since 1989, one such non-profit organization, Banja la Mtsogolo (BLM), has grown like a cancer, serving over 450 communities, most of them in remote rural areas that are difficult to reach. BLM was founded by the Marie Stopes International Partnership (which promotes abortion) and boasts that it has provided services based on long-acting or permanent family planning methods. BLM’s website states the organization has “doubled the number of young women accessing contraception since 2011, and…[will] reach more than 100,000 women under the age of 25 this year.”
Unfortunately, unsuspecting women in Malawi are offered emergency contraceptive pills, often without being told of the grave side effects and the abortifacient effects of the methods. Because impoverished African families are sick much of the time, they spend a good sum of family income for medical treatment. Many suffering women need help to alleviate the problems associated from infertility and contraception usage.
Amidst the siege of the population controllers, Malawians are frantically fighting to preserve the family. During my recent visit, I saw large billboards on all major roads, town centers, and even in remote areas, promoting condom brands. Sex “education” is in place in all schools of Malawi, and though it young women are encouraged to abandon motherhood in order to hold positions of political or economic power. Though Malawi restricts abortion, there is a strong campaign to legalize abortion as a medically viable treatment with strong funding by pro-abortion lobbies.
We can absolutely affirm the call for recognition of women’s dignity, which in truth is often not recognized in many African nations. Women are often seen as second class citizens, and their gifts are not recognized, which is debilitating for communities and nations. Indeed, I have worked with many women who would do much better in leadership positions than the men who are swayed by corrupt notions of “progress” from the wealthy nations who think they can buy Malawi’s allegiance to their agenda.
And the agenda has been clear for some time. NGOs seduce governments into believing that poor countries like Malawi should suppress fertility in order to join the developed world. However, these fertility measures rarely ever build a Culture of Life. Though economic progress and infrastructure is needed for less developed countries, what is not needed is the targeting of rural villages for sterilization campaigns. What is needed are country-wide natural family planning programs that affirm healthy families and healthy marriages, giving women and men a healthy and spiritually sound method to cooperate with God’s plan for their families. As the Church teaches, there can be serious reasons to postpone pregnancy, and doing so with a natural method that does not require contraception or abortion has been shown many times over to result in healthier families, something we see less and less of in the developed world.
Faced with the reality of the threats to life and family confronting the people of Malawi, we should follow the advice of Pope Saint John Paul II:
“What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life” (Evangelium vitae, 95).
This is why I support Malawians in their fight against the Culture of Death through life-loving programs that we are putting in place for the next year. Please pray for success in our efforts in Malawi to fight back against the propaganda and build a Culture of Life.
LifeNews Note: Emil Hagamu is the regional director of English-speaking Africa at Human Life International, and is the director of HLI Tanzania.