I could have titled this 1+1=3? Part II since this one is following right where my last one left off. Only sometimes when one is inspired one has to give that inspiration a chance.  The event I attended a couple weeks ago, 1+1=3? The Integration Hypothesis, was about integrated development and  investments in youth.  The event was thought provoking to say the least.

The first speaker Mr. Beck represents the organization, FHI360.  FHI360 is an organization whose purpose is to “improve lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions for human development.”  On the face of it the organization seems to have honorable aims to invest in multiple parts of people’s lives to help them prosper.  Underneath all of their good intentions lies a dark reality. One area they deem necessary to invest in is “reproductive health”, which is which is a code term for contraceptive and abortion services.  During Mr. Beck’s talk he mentioned that FI360’s integrated approach is aimed to “understand the needs, the desires of people we want to help.” He emphasized the idea of wanting to listen to countries.  One has to wonder at the sincerity of this statement.  There are nations that oppose abortion and do not want it to be legal and yet FHI360 sees “reproductive health” as a needed investment to help countries become more developed.  It seems more likely they will try to partner with governments and communities to ensure “reproductive health” is universally available.

Then there was the keynote speaker, Dr. Zulu.  His talk was centered on demographic dividend. For those who have never heard of this phrase before, take note.  Demographic dividend is the progress a country has when it moves from families having a greater number of dependents to having a proportional number of dependents.  South Korea was his big example of the fruition of this theory. The benefit of most families having fewer dependents is that it (supposedly) leads to economic growth.  When he first started explain the theory it was not clear at first what he was talking about, because he did not use the word children until later on.

The way he spoke, anyone would think dependents were this terrible barrier stopping countries from economic prosperity.  He was attaching a negative connotation to children.  Replace the word dependent with child and the message becomes children are this terrible barrier to economic prosperity.  That’s kind of a crazy message to be arguing in favor of, then again, population control is a dangerous and controlling theory.  Children are those who society is supposed to protect, but apparently as dependents they are that part of society that needs to be reduced.

Dr. Zulu argued that for demographic dividend to happen, universal reproductive health care must be available to all, especially to underdeveloped countries.  Once a country is successful in achieving demographic dividend then there will be economic growth. Making abortion one of the key components to improve the economy disturbs me.  There is no way killing innocent lives can make a strong foundation for building an economy.  Foundations must be solid and built on something good not something destructive.  Some say legalizing abortion empowers women; only it seems that it makes them more vulnerable in some ways.  Recently, there was this abortion doctor who was inviting women he performed abortions on to join his escort service.  He was building a sordid business on the vulnerable; he was not empowering women he was preying on them.  In a similar way those who support demographic dividend are also preying on women.  They are promising economic prosperity in return for a woman saying no to motherhood, a role that is natural to her.  In a way they are asking women to turn away from their own nature for money.  They are asking her to be okay with abortion, to be okay with killing the unborn, as well as hurting themselves and another human being.  Is that really what is going to empower a woman and make her happy?  There is the old adage that money can’t buy happiness, well neither can “reproductive health” care.

Seems shady that population control is not as focal in the public discussion when it comes to abortion.  If it were, I wonder if more people would affirm the ugly reality of “reproductive health”.

After all the speakers were done there was a panel of diversely experienced speakers answering questions about integrated development.  Overall, there were a lot of vague answers to questions and they did not seem to have a lot of evidence for integrated development working.  One speaker could only give two countries of integrated development benefiting society with investments in education, reproductive health, etc.  The moderator, Femi Oke, was able to get panelists to acknowledge that this theory of integrated development was only at its beginning.  In addition, one panelist admitted, “integration is not a panacea for problems”.  I was happy that Femi Oke did not just accept what the panelists were saying.  She really wanted answers, and tried to understand the theory of integrated development.  By the end of the discussion it was clear that integrated development is a theory, an unproven theory that some want to impose on the world.  Proponents of integrated development want to save the world with abortion and contraception being some of their primary tools.  If only these same people could spend their energies trying to save the most vulnerable of all – the unborn.