Gates Foundation attempts to end the anti-birth-control debate in one video

Well, the whole idea of female autonomy and saving women’s lives rather than forcing them into forming babbys that they don’t necessarily want or can’t necessarily take care of is great for those of us who honestly care about humanitarian efforts. Those of us who’d prefer that these unexpected children go on to become uneducated religious zealots thanks to the evisceration of the education system, however, might not actually see the value in the humanitarian argument.

I have to say this to get it out of the way though, as part of my nerd contract: I still think Windows sucks. Glad you’re doing something quite useful with your money, Bill. It’s only my preexisting prejudices that incline me to credit Melinda instead.

Gates Foundation attempts to end the anti-birth-control debate in one video

17 thoughts on “Gates Foundation attempts to end the anti-birth-control debate in one video

  1. 2

    Melinda Gates went to an all-girls Catholic high school in Dallas. I went to the same school, although I graduated almost 20 years later. Right on the heels of the Vatican cracking down on the nuns, they also started sniping at Melinda French Gates for the Gates’ Foundations birth control advocacy. The nuns that run our school issued a press release & email blast that was pretty awesome. On first read, it was a standard “Catholic teaching states that…blah blah blah,” but after you read it a couple times, it was obvious the nuns were giving Melinda a huge high-five and a giant “fuck you” to the Vatican.

    Gave me hope for the world, and made me proud of my high school, even if it is Catholic. At least it’s not diocesan-affiliated, so it is/was much less tainted by Vatican politics.

  2. 3

    …you mean the Gates Foundation is capable of doing something good instead of devoting all available funds to destroying public education?

    I forget that sometimes.

  3. 4

    @ egilder: If the email you got from your nuns was more honest, it would have said, explicitly, and not after the third reading: Fuck the vatican, we’re out of here!! I’m glad you got all warm and fuzzy over the, what, THIRD reading of their press release/email, but really, what is there to support in a male dominated organization that covers up child molestation, and supports policies that lead to increased infections of aids and other sexually transmitted diseases? And, by the way, I am of the male persuasion and formerly religious.

  4. 6

    Standancer – the most subtle kind of insult is the sort where it’s only understood to be an insult by the insulted and those in the know and the insulted can’t publicly take the insulter to task for it because they’d lose face by explaining to the world in general just why it’s an insult.

  5. 8

    I only have one criticism of that video. It fails to mention another consequence of too many babies: too many mouths to feed.

    Land can only produce so much food and incomes only pay for so much. Unplanned babies can lead to horrible deaths by starvation and malnutrition, especially when drought hits. “Band Aid” was a bandaid solution to an ongoing problem.

    If the choice is the use of a million condoms or a million more children born and then starving to death, which would you choose?

  6. 9

    Whenever I hear US Republicans arguing that women don’t care about reproductive rights, we only care about jobs, I feel compelled to comment that some of us are too broke to afford another child and a few of us run the risk of getting fired or never getting a raise again if we take too much time off for birth, recovery and childcare needs. Unwanted pregnancies are an economic issue, dammit.

  7. 10

    The figures they quote are extremely conservative. The last I heard, 875,000 women die every year from the effects of unwanted fertility. And there was one study showing that every krona spent on abortion for women who had requested it but were denied would have saved 130 kronor in welfare.

  8. 11

    @ One Way Monkey —

    Yeah, in the U.S. The Gates Foundation has put some pretty heavy money and PR behind the charter school/privatization industry. The strategy is basically a) choose the easy-to-work-with students whenever possible, b) expel inconvenient students, c) smash teachers’ unions, d) assign students to specific industries by the time they enter high school, e) use drill-and-kill high-stakes standardized testing (along with the selection in a and b) to “prove” that privatized charter schools are superior. The Gates Foundation is also big on promoting high-stakes standardized testing as the absolute measure of student, teacher, and school performance.

  9. 12

    Plenty of criticism of the Gates Foundation can be found out there, though, frankly, you have to sift a bit since the Gates Foundation also spends a lot on media which gets it a lot of vapid positive coverage.

    Gates has bought into the “blame the teachers” agenda as well as the “teach to the tests” crap.

    Gates Foundation spent a bunch promoting the pro-charter school film “Waiting for Superman”, but the facts just don’t support the premise of the film:

    And the criticism is not just domestic:,0,2533850.story

    “Big philanthropy” like the Gates Foundation is not accountable to anyone:

    Bill Gates has no qualifications for understanding anything about education; he amassed his huge fortune by being a ruthless businessman. How would that give him any understanding how classrooms work?

  10. 13

    While I can grasp the intention and appeal of the kind of economic argument put forward in that video, I find the fact of its mere existence deeply sad.

    Is the idea of female autonomy so alien – so repulsive – to so many that there even have to be appeals to its projected effects in terms of economics?

    Is the idea of women having the power to govern their own lives so worthless on its own merits that it first needs to be attached to some arbitrary measure of utility for it to be given serious consideration?


    Don’t get me wrong, the video has a positive and neccessary message, and is very persuasive. I just find it horribly frustrating that so much persuading is neccessary at all.


  11. 15

    @ Alethea

    Oh, they are probably fine with the brown babies as long as they are on the other side of an ocean or two. They just don’t want the brown babies in their communities. It does seem a bit poorly thought-out, though.

  12. 16

    I think Gates’ entire motivation on public schools is just to open up the territory to profiteering. The guy IS a businessman, first and foremost, and he became very successful by selling a mediocre product through aggressive marketing and deal-making. Whether his product causes me trouble is of no concern to Gates – he’s only concerned with making sure I have to end up using it somehow.

    On the economic arguments for birth control, a moral argument for women deserving bodily autonomy is regrettably pretty radical. Plus, this is an argument that could possibly persuade people who don’t see contraception as good in and of itself, but as a necessary evil only.

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