We hear it everywhere: “Believe what you want to believe, but don’t force your beliefs on others.” The very name ‘pro-choice’ appears to tout this idea. The pro-abortion movement is all about choice, except, it seems, when it comes to having children. Contraception, birth control, sex education, and abortion all need to be seen a certain way—their way. One of the ways this manifests itself is in how the West treats Africa.
Much of the discussion surrounding foreign aid to Africa is focused on contraception and abortion. In order to break the cycle of poverty, the argument goes, African women need to be able to control their ‘reproductive options’. Because many in Africa do not have access to contraception, organizations such as UN Women make it their business to insist that this is what they need in order to become empowered.
What the Western world refuses to recognize is that this is essentially a form of idealogical colonialism. Obianuju Ekeocha, the founder and president of Culture of Life Africa and author of Target Africa: Idealogical Neocolonialism in the Twenty-First Century, explained this concept to a BBC reporter by saying: “I don’t think any Western country has the right to pay for abortions in an African country where the majority of the people don’t want abortion.” After all, the Western world is declaring that the African people need abortion, they just do not recognize it, and therefore, we need to provide it for them against their will. If this is not an example of perceived cultural superiority, what is?
Ekeocha asserted on another occasion that many African languages do not even have a word that could accurately describe abortion, and if they do, it certainly would not have any positive connotations. Abortion and contraception is a Western solution that is being forced on the African people, even as an overwhelming majority of Africans adamantly state that they do not want it. As Ekeocha explained: “If you want to convince any woman in Africa that abortion is actually a good thing you first of all have to tell her that what her parents and her grandparents and her ancestors told her is actually wrong, they are going to have to tell her that they have always been wrong. And that, is colonization.”
Further, when the African people are actually asked what they need, Ekeocha points out that contraception is nearly the last thing on their list. They are asking for food, water, education, and basic health care. If the West sends aid to Africa, they should focus on means such as education, which have proven to raise people such as Ekeocha herself out of poverty, rather than try to convince them that they need to kill their children.
It’s interesting that forcing one’s beliefs on others is only applicable to those who disagree with the pro-abortion movement. The god of tolerance commits suicide every time it is dredged up. When pro-choice advocates will let it stay dead, however, is yet to be seen.