“You have cattle. You are big farmers. You can feed your children. Why then resort to birth control? This is my opinion, I see no reason to control births in Tanzania.”
“People who use birth control…are lazy…and don’t want to work hard”
– Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli
Pause. Did he just-
Yes, folks, he did.
At a rally in Meatu, Tanzania, President John Magufuli advocated for women to opt out of birth control and contraceptives, stating that it was important to reproduce. This promotion goes against the Tanzanian Maputo Protocol which gives women rights to their own body and fertility. Not only that, but the Protocol gives women the right to decide whether to have children in the first place, gives women the agency to use contraceptives and gives women the right to choose education first rather than family. Additionally, the call to ban contraceptives goes against Magufuli’s proscription last year which has prevented pregnant girls from going to school. His statement ALSO undermines their health care system which can only afford families a maximum of four children per family.
Why is Magufuli concerned about women’s bodies and fertility rates when Tanzania is ranked 17th in the top 20 countries in Africa with the highest fertility rates?
Does he not understand that contraception is critical for women in all countries because one, it allows for women to have agency in when to start a family, and two, reduces pregnancy-related risk? Which, in Tanzania, is super important because many adolescents are impregnated and have the highest risk of infant/child mortality, morbidity, and mortality?
I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, cisgender men don’t have to worry about periods or birthing children.
So why are men’s voices still so instrumental in regards to all women’s bodies?
Also, how belittling of President Magufuli to associate the use of birth control and other forms of contraceptives to solely childbearing. Birth control is used for a myriad of reasons!
- One, it can make women’s periods lighter and more regular.
- Two, it can stop menstrual cramps.
- Three, it can help decrease the pain caused by endometriosis, which is when the tissue that grows within the uterus, starts growing outside of it.
- Four, it helps with the polycystic ovarian syndrome which is caused by a hormonal imbalance bringing about excess body hair, cysts, and acne.
For the individuals reading this thinking, only women go through this, THINK AGAIN. MEN USE CONTRACEPTIVES, aka have you not heard of condoms or a vasectomy (TNSFW)?
Honestly, this isn’t the first time the issue of contraceptives and birth control has made it into international headlines. It’s a problem that men feel like they have a voice too when women are the ones risking their lives. Men just always seem to want to have control over women’s bodies.
To which I say to President Magufuli and anyone who agrees that women should abstain from birth control and contraceptives:
Do not speak up on something you know nothing about.
Also, please refrain from thinking that birth control is solely attributed to childbearing.
That is all.
The ovaries have spoken.
9 thoughts on “Tanzania and Birth Control?”
“The ovaries have spoken” haha, love it. Love this topic! Feels really messed up to still have to validate these facts to world leaders..
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Literally LOVE this! Thanks for discussing issues outside of the U.S!
Thank you! And yes, I agree. It is really messed up that other genders feel like they have a say to other gendered bodies when they have no idea what they are talking about nor have they educated themselves enough to understand. World leaders and common folk combined.
Honestly though! I don’t understand why men always have a MILLION opinions on what women do for themselves! Love this post!
I think birth control is such a hot topic in the US that most people don’t realize that’s its an international problem as well! Thanks for shedding light on such an important issue!!
I agree! Thank you!
This. Is. Everything. Global news I hadn’t heard of; but is still SO important! Men’s control over women’s bodies (that is, cis men controlling, well, everyone else’s bodies) is a toxicity that can’t be replaced. It’s hard to pinpoint where action needs to be taken, but pointing out the problem is key to finding a solution. Great post!
Thank you! I really appreciate it!
This is so relevant! It is interesting how we consistently, in any country, have men making decisions on women’s health but even more so about issues they do not experience nor fully understand because they cannot go through it themselves.