Aggressive UN Pushing High-Risk Birth Control on African Women Who Don't Want It

AEI's Alex Coblin and C-Fam's Rebecca Oas and Stefano Gennarini at the United Nations. Photo Credit: Tyler O'Neil, PJ Media AEI's Alex Coblin and C-Fam's Rebecca Oas and Stefano Gennarini at the United Nations. Photo Credit: Tyler O'Neil, PJ Media

When a woman says she would prefer not to become pregnant in the next two years, she is not saying very much. A study between 1998 and 2003 revealed that many of the women expressing a wish not to become pregnant also added that it would be "no problem" or a "small problem" if they became pregnant. However, the question is a simple yes or no. When the woman says no, it is assumed she wants birth control, even though many women have various objections to it.

"A woman's stated desire to avoid pregnancy is taken as a mandate, but a woman's decision to not use contraception is regarded as a 'barrier,'" Oas explained. In other words, there is a latent bias in the way the UN asks these questions and interprets the answers. Researchers take a simple preference and transform it into a "demand" for birth control.

Furthermore, the UN defines "unmet need" with a convoluted mathematical formula which hides the fact that contraceptives are widely available for women across the world. Oas presented a graph with the UN's data showing the percentage of "need satisfied," along with her own calculation on basic access to birth control, illustrating the absurdity of claiming that birth control is difficult to come by.

Credit Rebecca Oas, C-Fam ( Credit Rebecca Oas, C-Fam (

Because people think that there is a huge unmet need for birth control, due to this bad data, they invest billions of dollars into contraceptives, while taking money away from maternal and child health services.

"Deaths Averted"

Another convoluted use of data involves the argument that increasing contraceptive use will "save lives." Oas quoted a joint statement made in March 2015 by philanthropist Melinda Gates and Graca Machel, widow of the late South African President Nelson Mandela. "In fact, if the world extended contraceptive use to only a quarter of the women with an unmet need, it could save the lives of 25,000 women and 250,000 newborns each year," the women wrote.

Wait -- how does contraceptive use save the lives of newborns? Oh yeah, it prevents them from being born. That's right, the UN considers it a "life saved" when a baby is not conceived, so long as infant morality in the region is high.

There are many problems with this approach, foremost the assumption that women will use the contraceptives, and that current rates of maternal and infant morality will remain constant.

Oas argued that this creates a perverse incentive. "The more risky it is to have a death from a birth, the more you can claim to have saved lives" by preventing those births in the first place. The researcher responded, "I say we should make childbirth safer, not more rare."

"Make birth safer for both mother and child -- I would urge caution when measuring hypothetical effects like 'deaths averted,'" Oas declared.

Next Page: The kind of contraception matters -- how the UN is pushing dangerous birth control on African women.