French President To Prolific Mothers:
You’re Not Stupid, Just Ignorant

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French President Emmanuel Macron cannot avoid the soundbites that end up biting him back. The man, who does not have children himself, continues to question why anyone would have a big family … hinting that only uneducated women would welcome lots of children.

Last month, President Macron spoke at a Gates Foundation event in New York and again concerned himself with African families. Like Bill and Melinda Gates, Macron talks about helping the poor in Africa and educating them, but also insinuates that there should be fewer of them. At the event, he said:

“I always say, present me the woman who decided, being perfectly educated, to have seven, eight, or nine children …”

Of course, why would an educated woman decide to have so many children? Doesn’t she realize the real value of a woman is not motherhood?

There is a widespread bigotry towards family life in these so-called “progressive” days. Children are a burden, and women must want to be more than mothers.

Disclaimer:  My educated wife and I have nine children. We have encountered ignorant reactions to my wife’s noble calling to bear and raise our children.

But so many “smart” people disagree with us. They see no practicality in a large family. Some, like Bill Nye, believe large families in developed countries should be fined for the burden they bring into the world.

But getting back to President Macron. A sizeable reaction to his regrettable sentence came from large families, many with well-educated mothers. Dr. Catherine Pakaluk, a professor of social research and economics at Catholic University, and a mother of eight, posted a response on Twitter, with the hashtag #PostcardsforMacron. More “postcards” flooded in, with their own messages for the French president:

“BA from the University of Georgia, JD from Emory, member of the Bar. 6 kids and open to more.”

“Actually, it’s BECAUSE I’m educated that we had the intellect and wisdom to see the supreme value in being open to life.”

“Educated mother of 10. President Macron, you fail to see the gift.”

“I may have a Master’s from Harvard, but my education was perfected through the beauty and truth of my vocation to motherhood.”

“My mother was born and raised in Nigeria, Africa. She is well educated, was a full-time teacher, then an entrepreneur and an awesome homemaker to six educated children and fourteen grandchildren (so far).”

There’s more of a sampling on, including another message from Nigeria and one from France.

Macron, later said in his speech, tries to backtrack a little, saying “I’m fine with the lady having seven, eight children, if this is her choice, after education.”

But is Macron fine with it? His tone of his initial statement, his arrogance in assuming an educated women would not choose a big family, is telling. Maybe Macron is trying to avoid the backlash from previous, foolish statements (see further below).

Macron and the Gates Foundation are heavily invested in family planning and population control, including abortion, and Macron comes off as a leader of another “progressive” country pushing abortion in Africa. France isn’t alone. Canada, led by prime minster Justin Trudea, has pledged $650-million to advocate abortion worldwide, mostly to Africa. Sweden’s foreign aid agency, Sida, will not give money to charitable organizations, including schools, that do not promote abortion.

“Sexual and reproductive health and rights are a prerequisite for being able to attend school and being active on the labor market,” said Sida director Carin Jamtin. “We have to defend … the right to abortion for girls and women in poor countries.”

Even if they do not want that “right.” So-called advanced counties in Europe, as well as Canada, are sure concerned about birthrates in Africa. Why do Macron and company want fewer African babies? It is fair to question their motives.

Obianuju Ekeocha certainly questions them. Ekeocha, a biomedical scientist with dual citizenship in Nigeria and Britain, is an outspoken critic of other countries trying to dictate values to Africa. Ekeocha wrote a book – Target Africa: Ideological Neocolonialism in the Twenty-First Century, and she founded the Culture of Life Africa initiative. The group’s web site introduction takes an indirect shot at Melinda Gates’ emphasis on birth control for Africa: 

“A few years ago the flood “gates” of contraception was opened on the poorest nations in the world, and most of these were African nations. An astronomical amount of money was poured into the project that had as primary objective — the drastic reduction of the fertility of the poor. Ever since then, there has been new and upcoming abortion proposals/bills springing up in various African nations, and also stringent population control measures being strongly proposed from one African nation to the other.”

Ekeocha has been a constant critic of Macron, too, especially last year when Macron stepped in controversy with another regrettable soundbite, stating that, “One of the essential challenges of Africa … is that in some countries today, seven or eight children [are] born to each woman.”

Macron made matters worse, saying Africa’s challenge is “civilizational,” meaning not yet civilized:  unrefined.

The French president said he wants to promote education, but in his speech last month, he explained that education is “not just about teaching. It’s providing, obviously math, languages, skills, but [also] values, openness …”

But whose values? And openness to what kind of ideology? Macron is not pushing reading and writing, but birth control and abortion because … why? He believes he knows better than Africans, and all those uneducated mothers?

Kevin Thomas is a writer and teacher living with his wife and children in Standish, Maine.