Melinda Gates and the New Population Control Movement


Melinda Gates on the Stephen Colbert Show

Love him or hate him, Stephen Colbert doesn’t waste time getting to the point. In last Thursday’s interview with Melinda Gates on the Colbert Report, he asked Melinda about her newest initiative and cut straight to the chase: the new population control movement exists to save lives by erasing lives.

Colbert: “But now you’ve got a new charitable hobby horse you’re on, and it’s not necessarily saving people’s lives, so much as it’s stopping people’s lives from existing. You want to provide family planning to 120 million men and women around the world.”

Melinda Gates: “Right.”

The old population control movement existed for more or less the same reason, to eradicate poverty by eradicating the poor. In fact, the only major difference between the two movements is one of semantics. Today’s newest generation of population control proponents are still billionaires, still from the first world, and are still convinced that the poor are at the center of the world’s woe.

What’s changed is their marketing campaign and rhetoric.

The word “control”, especially when placed directly after the word population, evokes a flood of concrete historical memories that include coercive family planning programs still infamous today. The programs were known for addressing poverty through forced sterilizations, eradicating the poor in order to eradicate poverty. In the process, they robbed the poor person of their humanity and replaced it with a number in order to fulfill fertility quotas.

The policies were racist and driven by ideological fear. They were sponsored by many of the same organizations that make up the new population movement today. The new movement, however, has attempted to distance itself from its past with a very modern, subtle shift in ideology. No longer do they emphasize eugenics or even use the word “control”, but prefer the word “empowerment” and the ideology of women’s rights.

Today they use words like “population dynamics” and phrases like “demography is not destiny”. They shame the poor world into believing that the real problem isn’t so much investment in their education, health, or economy as it is their fertility. They tell them, “if you only would use family planning to  ‘space your children’ properly you wouldn’t have the problems that you do, you wouldn’t be so poor and uneducated.”  Then they tell these people, especially women, many of whom have access to modern methods of family planning, that it is their “right” to use those methods, even though, given their strong insistence, it seems to be less of right than an “obligation”.

Their message is as clear as it was 5o years ago: the poor are the problem, and according to this movement, it is the poor that are the ones responsible for solving it. How? By controlling their population growth. By not having children. The billionaires can’t do it for them, they can’t force them. They can pay them to do it, they can educate them on to do it, they can even increase their access to the services that will help them to do it, but they can’t make them. They already tried that.

So instead they focus on rights, and they focus on shame, and they tell people like me, in the first world, that the poor people in the southern hemisphere would be okay if they just get access to contraception. And we mostly believe them. Except, something just doesn’t seem right.

Does development really come from contraception? And is it really a problem of too many people? What about investing in jobs, education, health and infrastructure? Perhaps those are the real problems. Perhaps, and this is just a wild guess, that is the way the north has been able to grow….

The north developed without contraception. It became rich and educated without contraception. Fertility began dropping later, and again, without contraception. Instead it was education that made the difference. It was economic growth provided by investment and the entrepreneurship of people, not numbers.

The new population control movement, led by billionaires like Melinda Gates in coordination with organizations the like UNFPA and governments that include both the United States and the United Kingdom, still wants to eradicate poverty by eradicating the poor, it’s just that, for historical reasons, they can’t come out and say it so directly. Yet, every now and then they do, just as Melinda did the other night. This needs to be made clear. This movement must be de-masked, and defeated once again.

I think that Melinda Gates actually believes that increasing the poor’s access to family planning will really better their lives. I also think that many of the people involved in the population control movement in the 40s, 50s and 60s did as well.  However, what they don’t seem to be able to understand, or at least reconcile, is that this is not the only solution. Instead it’s a solution that comes at the cost of reducing people to numbers, and one that will put billions of dollars into “empowering” people to stop having children rather than educating them and helping them to build a society where they are valued as a resource rather than a curse.

Yes, Melinda Gates is Catholic, but this is not the “preferential option for the poor” that we have been educated to at Church and in school for the last 2,000 years. No, that option is built on love, responsibility and the experience of seeing human beings as protagonists and not numbers.


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  • john2000young

    Handing free contraceptives to the poor is an insults to them.

  • Tarheel

    Has she thought of feeding the poor and providing them a means to break the chains of poverty? With the money she is going to use to provide family planning/birth control/population control it would feed a lot of hungry people. and would go a long way to provide them means to get out of poverty.

    Oh wait, money spent on population control is probably less than money spent helping the poor and needy. Sure would hate for teh Gates’ to spned too much of te billions they have doing good.

    Population OCntrol could be and may well be a form of genocide. Will this free birth control be evenly spread out across all races/cultures or ….

    When I see “Catholics” wanting to do this I often wonder that somewhere along the way was there a failure in catechesis. I am a catechist so this does make me think, “what do I need to do better”

    One last comment.

    Ms Gates, I am Vincentian, a proud member of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Perhaps you have heard of us, we are a Catholic lay organization serving the needs of the poor and needy in our communities. Instead trying to control population, give us the funds you have set aside for this and just watch how much change we can make in the lives of those living in poverty. There is a very active Society close by where you live. In fact we will be having our annual year end meeting in Seattle in September. Please drop by and visit us, and bring your check book.

  • noelfitz

    It is great to see friends like Tarheel. Goral and PrairieHawk contributing.

    However this article troubles me. I read here “It became rich and educated without contraception. Fertility began dropping later, and again, without contraception. Instead it was education that made the difference.” I am not sure I understand this.

    I also see that “governments that include both the United States and the United Kingdom, still wants to eradicate poverty by eradicating the poor”. I would like to see the evidence for this.

    As usual I agree fully with Tarheel, who wrote “somewhere along the way was there a failure in catechesis.” This is so correct. Thus with humility, respect, reason and charity we should try to make Catholic teaching understood.

    Finally, like Tarheel, I am also a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society, but involved in prison visitation.

  • Tarheel

    Great Noel a Vincentian brother! Love it!

    If you not seen the YouCat it is wonderful. I recommend it to everyone no matter what their age. Every home with children should have a copy of it.

    Should we send one to Ms Gates?

    I too wonder about “eradicating the poor”. I would love to eradicate poverty myself, but I’m not too sure myself what governments want to do.

  • noelfitz

    Our pastor is encouraging sales of YouCat in our parish bookshop, called Good News.

  • john2000young


    “You need to know what you believe.” PBXVI

    Or, you are not Catholic.

  • ColoradoSusan

    Melinda and Bill Gates are arrogant neocolonial elitists who believe they know what is best for those underneath them. They do not believe in sovereignty, instead believing that a one world government would be best for everyone. And their radical population control plan reeks of racism and eugenics.

    The Gates Foundation has partnered with pharma companies to use non-consenting people in developing countries as guinea pigs for drug experimentation.

    They also invest billions in companies that create terrible pollution in developing countries, all the while saying “We are here to help you”. These people need to be stopped. So please pray!