Neil Datta: Fighting Pro-Lifers to Control the Poor

Neil Datta: Fighting Pro-Lifers to Control the Poor

By Louis-Marie Bonneau1714644595310

Neil Datta founded the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) in 2000 with the support of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). He then worked for the organization’s European network (IPPF European Network), coordinating their parliamentary lobbying program. In 2004, Datta became the director of EPF. The stated aim of this lobby is to coordinate European parliamentarians to promote what they call “sexual and reproductive rights.” Several national and European parliamentarians sit on the organization's Executive Committee. 16 MEPs are also members of the “MEPs for Sexual and Reproductive Rights” group within the organization. They are the most active supporters of pro-abortion texts in the European Parliament.

Article first published in French in Valeurs Actuelles (April 27, 2024).

The unspoken strategy of demographic control in poor countries

The sixteen MEPs include Predrag Matić, Sophie in’t Veld, the Frenchwoman Irène Tolleret and Robert Biedroń, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights. Neil Datta federates them and organizes “study tours” to developing countries for them and other national MPs. Is it any wonder that members of a forum on population and development are known to be among the MEPs most committed to promoting abortion? The fact that this forum was created by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is no stranger to this apparent paradox. For these groups, abortion, sterilization, and contraception were first promoted as a method of population reduction.

Since its creation in the 1950s, the IPPF has been particularly committed to these issues, considering that high population levels in developing countries are a source of economic and public health problems. In 1977, it became a permanent member of the Coordinating Committee of the WHO’s Human Reproduction Programme (HRP). This Programme is at the origin of the main scientific work that led to the development of the contraceptives and abortifacients most widely used today. So it came as no surprise when Neil Datta decided to join forces with the HRP on August 25, 2023. Nor is it surprising that both organizations are funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is highly committed to these issues. The UNFPA is one of EPF’s leading financiers, with more than 250,000 euros paid out in 2021.

Yet today, within institutions, “abortion” and “contraception” are not synonymous with “demography,” but rather with “women’s health” and “sexual and reproductive rights.” This shift in vocabulary reflects a marketing strategy to conceal the demographic objective, begun in 1994 at the World Population Conference in Cairo. The discourse there had become more consensual due to the power struggle engaged in by the Holy See against the World Family Planning. In the same vein, in 2022, the EPF for Population and Development officially changed its name to EPF for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.


Inventing a global conspiracy to exist: Neil Datta’s strategy

Planned Parenthood Worldwide has entrusted the mission of “countering opposition” to abortion to its Western Hemisphere Region division, to which Neil Datta’s EPF reports (see IPPF’s 2019 activity report, p.2). To this end, Datta is regularly invited to the European Parliament to denounce pro-life groups. However, while dressing up in the trappings of the institutions, Datta conducts his fight in a far less honorable manner. He feeds a conspiracy dialectic against “pro-lifers.” He cannot stand the fact that pro-lifers denounce abortion as an objective evil, or that they also work to prevent it for the good of unborn children and women. The latter often have no choice but to have an abortion, as ECLJ showed in a recent report.

By antagonizing a group, you can mobilize and unite its supporters against it. It is a classic technique, but one that Neil Datta pushes to the limit of legality and dignity, by attacking people rather than their arguments. Thus, in 2012, his organization published a “blacklist” of pro-life personalities containing details of their private lives, including their families. In 2017, pro-life activist Ignacio Arzuaga’s computer was hacked. The data obtained from this hacking, which was illegal, was disclosed and used by Datta in one of its reports, even though he was aware of the fraudulent origin of this information.

Neil Datta seeks to frighten in order to give himself importance and fuel his dialectic. Yet the reality he denounces is less grandiloquent: groups, often Christian, more, or less structured among themselves, know each other and talk to each other. This was the case within a think-tank called “Agenda Europe.” The group’s e-mails were also illegally hacked. They have since been used to fuel the “global conspiracy against women’s rights” rhetoric. To create sensationalism, Datta also mixes funding from pro-life groups with any other Christian funding he can find. This is the case, for example, with Protestant and evangelical Christian churches. He then explains that these funds, artificially inflated by his methodology, fuel the fight against women’s rights.

According to the European Commission’s transparency register, Neil Datta employs nine people and had a budget of over two million euros in 2022. These come from the UNFPA, the WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Society Foundation, Planned Parenthood International (IPPF) and the pharmaceutical group Merck Sharp & Dohme, which produces contraceptive rings and desogestrel-based birth control pills. These are all organizations that have a personal stake in Neil Datta spreading his message that protecting the lives of children and the health of their mothers is an infringement of human rights.

For Neil Datta and the MPs, he federates, the fight against their “pro-life” opponents remains a means to their neo-colonial goal of controlling the demography of poor countries.

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