Obianuju Ekeocha: I was born and raised in a small town in Nigeria. And I had the great blessing of assimilating, from my family and society, basic principles and values of faith, family, love, life, dignity and discipline. I was taught that sex was sacred and best reserved for marriage, that marriage was the foundation of family, and that family was supposed to be the center of love and support. I understood that human life was precious from the womb and so every abortion was a serious attack against human life.Share
I knew, even as a young girl going through the less-than-perfect educational system in Nigeria, that my empowerment was dependent on my continued access to education rather than my access to contraception (and abortion). By the time I moved to Europe in my mid-twenties for my masters degree, I realized that even though there was much to admire in the Western culture that I had moved into, there was a part of this culture that I could not accept or embrace because it was the direct opposite of the values I had learnt from my youth.
For years I held my thoughts, opinions and convictions to myself, but in 2012, when I heard that Melinda Gates was launching a multibilliondollar contraception and population control project targeted towards the 69 poorest countries in the world (most of which were African countries), I saw this as a bold move on her part to impose her worldview upon the poorest of the world. She was pushing to shift the views of millions of people on family, motherhood, marriage and sex.
This was cultural imperialism and I couldn’t reconcile with it or be silent about it. So I wrote an Open Letter which was providentially made public by Teresa Tomeo — a renowned Catholic show host on EWTN. The letter eventually went viral as it was published by one of the Vatican websites as well as many other websites around the world in different languages. (Read more.)