Pelosi: We’re Third World Too
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Catholic San Francisco Democrat and pro-abortion communicant, has discovered how “to deal with the consequences of the downturn in our economy.” It’s simple: have fewer people. So in the near term, Pelosi supports over a billion taxpayer dollars in the aptly-named “stimulus package” for contraception and sex (pro-sex, anti-child) education. In the long term, as Humanae Vitae predicted, her logic will lead to government health care, rationing of medical treatment, and eventually the need to eliminate the portion of the population on which the government spends the most money – the old, the sick, and the infirm.
Pelosi’s Law is nothing new: in fact, the U.S. has had the same attitude towards the developing world for over fifty years. Pelosi’s only novelty is that she now treats the United States like any other Third World country. Since the 1950s, the U.S. Government has transmitted a simple message to the poor of the world: “There are too many of you.” In the name of doing good, the U.S. has funded contraceptive family planning programs throughout the Third World, costing tens of billions of dollars. By all appearances, these programs should help the world’s poor obtain clean water, basic health care, food, and agricultural assistance. The reality is less attractive: these programs usually require the host country and cooperating organizations to include contraceptives, Depro-Provera, even (at times) abortion and sterilization as mandatory ingredients of any “health” program – whether the host country wants it or not.
How did this come to pass? For decades, foreign aid has had two constituencies. “National security” assistance was designed to prevent the spread of communism during the Cold War, and was traditionally supported by conservatives. “Economic and humanitarian” assistance was designed to give aid to “developing countries,” and was traditionally supported by liberals. With that broad coalition, foreign aid always seemed to sail through congress.
Foreign aid has always had its opponents among taxpayers and conservatives, but their efforts were miniscule compared to the real beneficiaries of the programs: U.S. defense manufacturers, which supplied most of the “military assistance”; U.S. agricultural firms, which supplied the food assistance; U.S. nonprofits, which received and distributed the lion’s share of the humanitarian assistance; lobbyists for corrupt foreign governments, which always took a generous share off the top for themselves; and U.S. drug firms, which provided the medicines and contraceptives. (It was a sad specter to watch conservative senator Jeff Sessions in 2006, as he opposed outsourcing condom production to Asia. It turned out that the sole supplier of billions of prophylactics for U.S. foreign aid programs was located in his home state of Alabama.)
A “Conservative” Constituency For Family Planning?
During the Reagan Administration, lobbyists for the U.S. companies that profited from foreign aid programs dreamed up a new approach: suddenly, they were conservatives. The suppliers used products from every state in the union – and lo! elected official everywhere had a local “private sector” constituents strongly supporting foreign aid. No longer were those officials “handing out of billions of taxpayer dollars to the Third World.” Now could be praised for “providing good jobs, right here at home.”
So what constituency are Obama and Pelosi pleasing in pushing the anti-Humanae Vitae envelope? Well, as always, there are the profiteers: the “family planning” business in America rakes in billions a year, and its in-house partner, the abortion industry, is close behind (Even before the “stimulus,” contraceptive services alone received $1.6 billion a year from the federal government annually). But there are also the ideologues who simply oppose the traditional family and will do anything to destroy the values that sustain it. Domestically, we see this with Pelosi’s elimination of “abstinence education” funding, even as she advocates “sex education.” Internationally, the situation is best reflected in a report I heard on National Public Radio (NPR) after 9-11, when the U.S. forces invading Afghanistan entered Kabul. U.S. foreign-aid agencies were close behind, and NPR interviewed one of them, a woman who was supposedly bringing health services to Afghan women.
“These women are twenty-eight years old and they already have eight children,” she screamed into her satellite phone. “They won’t even listen when I try to offer them contraceptives. And the men are even worse!!”
So those who benefit from U.S. family planning programs, either financially or ideologically, do not complain. But another important voice is also silent: the U.S. bishops. On January 19, USCCB President Francis Cardinal George wrote President Obama, urging him to preserve conscience rights for health workers, and to oppose funding for abortion in foreign-aid programs. But he did not mention contraception at all:
“Once the clear line between family planning and abortion is erased,” he wrote, “the idea of using family planning to reduce abortions becomes meaningless, and abortion tends to replace contraception as the means for reducing family size. A shift toward promoting abortion in developing nations would also increase distrust of the United States in these nations, whose values and culture often reject abortion, at a time when we need their trust and respect.”
Dare I point out that Humanae Vitae does not draw the line there, Your Eminence?
No wonder that, over the past thirty years, countless Latin American Catholics, including dozens of bishops, have complained to me that U.S. population programs are an insult to their people, their families, and, yes to the Catholic Church itself. I’m sure Cardinal George meant to say “natural family planning” in his letter, but the absence of any meaningful effort on the part of the USCCB to convince its allies in the liberal wing of congress speaks for itself. It sounds an uncertain trumpet, at best. At worst, it delivers a message of silent approval, an abdication of Humanae Vitae, and a warm welcome for the Pelosi-Obama agenda in Washington.
Education: Control In The Long Run
Pelosi’s law relies on the unspoken assumption that children are the wards of the state, and grouses that funds could be more wisely spent elsewhere. This is hardly a new view, but never before has a presidential administration been so close to bringing us to a Brave new World. “Governments Line Up For [Stimulus] Dollars,” crows the Washington Post. As the private sector economy shrinks, Obama sees prospects for growth only in government. Behind all the prattle about “repairing infrastructure” lies a plan to federalize not only every aspect of the economy, but of education as well. The $900 billion stimulus bill contains over $150 billion for “education” – all of it for government schools, of course, with nothing for the eleven percent of American students who do not attend public schools. But with funding comes control, and we can only imagine what horrors the most pro-abortion administration in history will introduce into what will soon become a national social studies curriculum.
Ideologues abound in government education, and they are ever more gay-friendly and family-averse. Obama’s educrats will train children to expect the government to feed them (in the “school lunch” programs, which often include breakfast), to give them medical care (through the Medicaid S-Chip program), to monitor their parents and family life (through Child Protection Services), to give them training for life (through sex education), and, of course, to feed them the party line in whatever time is left for “class.”
If you think that we can defeat these efforts in court, consider: those pupils are also the future members of the juries who will hear our case.