Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why is it always America's fault?

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 flatlined.

Africans have too many children, and we're told it's America's fault, because we won't give them condoms that they refuse to use, and because we're successfully fighting AIDS.

Remember when we were criticized for not fighting AIDS in Africa?

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