April 16, 2014

Africans among the most morally opposed to contraception

Speaking to bishops from Tanzania last week, Pope Francis praised church workers in Africa “who strive diligently to educate people in the area of sexual responsibility and chastity” with the aim of preventing HIV and AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than two-thirds of the world’s people living with HIV, according to amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

Many in Africa see use of contraception as immoralWhile Francis didn’t specifically refer to condom use, his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, once said that condoms can “increase the problem” of HIV and AIDS by encouraging promiscuity. Roman Catholic Church teaching rejects the use of artificial contraception on a moral basis.

Several African nations stand out among the most conservative on the issue of contraceptive use, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey of people in 40 countries. Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Senegal ranked among the nine countries with the most moral opposition to contraception.

In Nigeria and Ghana, roughly half or more of each population said that contraceptive use is morally unacceptable (54% and 52%, respectively). Out of the 40 countries surveyed, only Pakistan (65%) had a higher rate of opposition.

There is less moral objection to contraception in the other sub-Saharan African nations in the survey, but significant shares in Uganda (38%), Kenya (33%) and Senegal (28%) said contraceptive use is morally wrong. The comparable figure for the U.S. is 7%.

South Africa, which has more people living with HIV/AIDS than any other nation, stands out in sub-Saharan Africa for its lower level of moral opposition to contraceptive use. Just 15% of South Africans said contraception is morally unacceptable, while fully two-thirds (68%) said it is morally acceptable. A study published in 2012 by the British Royal Society found that increased condom use was the “most significant factor” in slowing the spread of HIV in South Africa.

Explore attitudes in countries around the world with our Global Views of Morality interactive.

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Religious Beliefs and Practices, Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. is Editor at the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.

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4 Comments

  1. Katie082 months ago

    Notice that the loudest protests against contraception and homosexuality come from the world’s most primitive, backward, uneducated societies .. countries like the notorious Pakistan ruled by knuckle dragging Neanderthals who brutalise their women without remorse nor consequence. A misogynistic society that brutalises, murders, rapes and abuses women and young female girls with impunity! Given that the Catholic Church has a long, long disreputable history of misogyny, I am not surprised the relate well to these medieval societies! What a pack of sanctimonious hypocrites they are .. on one hand they rail against contraception pretending to care about unborn children YET for years, overlooked and condoned the despicable, criminal sexual abuse of millions of young children by disgusting predatory priests many of whom were never made to face consequences for their crimes! The Catholic Church is a disgrace in the way they rail against contraception in African nations where millions of unwanted children are born into families that can least afford them! So many of these children are sold off into slavery (working for a pittance in horrific conditions to help support their families), starving and the victims of horrific abuse. The Catholic Church is overflowing with hypocrisy and self-entitlement … shame on you!

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  2. GERRY HALL5 months ago

    AFRICA HAS BECOME ONE OF THE HOT SPOTS AROUND THE WORLD, INCLUDING THE U.S.A., WHEN GAY RIGHTS, CONTRACEPTION, ET AL ARE ADDRESSED…THE AFRICAN NATION, ONCE MIGHTY AND FORGIVING, HAS BECOME DRAGGED DOWN TO THE LEVEL OF BEING AFRAID TO STATE THEIR WANTS OR NEEDS WHEN IT COMES TO CONTROLLING THE BALANCE OF THE COUNTRY WITH NEW BABIES VERSUS THE BALANCE OF CONTROLLING THE DISEASES, THE WIDESPREAD HUNGER AND THE NEED FOR WATER AND MEDICINE…THE POPULATION IS GROWING TOO FAST FOR MANY COUNTRIES, INCLUDING THE GOOD OL’ US.A., AND YET THE NEEDS OF THE PRESENT IN THIS WORLD ARE BEING IGNORED AND/OR TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM….THE PRAGMATIC ANSWER TO CONTRACEPTIONS WOULD BE LET MEN AND WOMEN MAKE THEIR DECISIONS ON WHEN TO POPULATE WHETHER IT BE BY CONTRACEPTION AND/OR CONDOMS…THERE ARE SO MANY ADS ON TV FOR ENCHANCEMENTS FOR ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION BUT NO ADS, NO WORDS, NOT ANYTHING FOR WOMEN TO CONTROL THEIR UTERUS AND THE BIRTHING OF BABIES WHO MAY OR MAY NOT BE WANTED OR CANT BE TAKEN CARE OF BY EITHER PARENT.. THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN NOT TO BECOME PREGNANT, WHETHER WANTED OR UNWANTED FROM SOME DASTARDLY DEED DONE UPON THEM….THE POPLULATION NEEDS TO BE CONTROLLED TO A CERTAIN LEVEL WHICH CAN ONLY ENHANCE THE WORLD SO WE, AS A WORLD, CAN FEED, CLOTHE AND EDUCATE CHILDREN WHEN THEY ARE BORN AND, THEREAFTER, CREATE JOBS FOR THOSE CHILDREN WHO ARE BORN INTO A LIFE WHICH THEY DID NOT CHOOSE…THE WORLD HAS TOO MANY CHILDREN WHO WANDER ALONE, LIVELESS UNTIL THEIR LIFE REACHES ITS END OR THEY ARE ENTERED INTO THE SEX SLAVE SYSTEM OR THE SO-CALLED FOSTER HOMES AND, LASTLY, A VERY SLIGHT HOPE OF BEING ADOPTED BEFORE THE AGE OF 18…PRAGMATISM GREW FROM THE “DOMINO THEORY” AND WE ALL LIVED IT ONCE BACK IN THE 1940′s AND 1950″S WHEN WOMEN WORKED WHILE THE MEN WERE OFF TO WAR AND THE MEN WERE GIVEN JOBS RETURNING FROM WAR AND HOMES AND LIVES WERE BUILT …HOWEVER, PRAGMATISM DOESN’T ALWAYS BECOME THE CHOICE OF PEOPLE IN POWER…IT SEEMS WEALTH AND POWER ARE THE CHOICES THAT ARE BEING MADE IN PLACE OF CONCERN AND NUTURING BECAUSE IT SEEMS TO THE WEALTHY AND POWERFUL THAT IF ALL PEOPLE HAD ANY AMOUNT OF WEALTH AND POWER THEN THE PRESENT WEALTHY AND POWERFUL WOULD BE NOTHING BUT ONE OF MANY…THEY WOULDNT HAVE ALL THE ACCOLADES PRAISING HOW WONDERFUL THEY ARE TO DONATE A SMALL PITTANCE OF THEIR WEALTH AND THEIR POWER, THEY COULDN’T KEEP PEOPLE DOWNTRODDEN AND EATING OUT OF TRASH DUMPS, DRINKING UNFIT WATER, BEING ABANDONED BY THEIR MOTHER OR FATHER BECAUSE THEY REALLY COULDNT TAKE CARE OF THE NEW CHILD WHO SUDDENLY WAS THRUST INTO A DYNAMIC SITATION THAT NONE OF US COULD, POSSIBLY, SURVIVE AND, FINALLY, THEY SEEM TO HAVE ACHIEVED A STATE OF MIND THAT THEY DESERVED THE WEALTH AND POWER AND THE FUTURE DOESN’T LOOK SO BRIGHT FOR THE REST OF US (I HAVE TO ADMIRE MR/MRS GATES, MR. BUFFET AND ALL THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE, WHO SEEM TO BE CONCERNED AND BELIEVE THEY NEED TO SPREAD THEIR WEALTH AND HELP THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PRESENTLY IN THE WORLD)….SO TO COME BACK TO AFRICA AND ALL THAT I HAVE MENTIONED ABOVE AS TO KEEPING WOMEN (AND MEN SOMETIMES) DOWN, I AM NOT HOPEFUL THIS HORIZON OF POWER AND WEALTH AND DISCONCETING ATTITUDE WILL WEND..I AM EMARRASSED TO SAY THAT SENATOR INHOFF FROM OK, AMONG MANY OTHER REPUBLICAN SENATORS, ACTUALLY EMBRACED AND PUSHED THROUGH A LAW MAKING IT A DEATH SENTENCE TO BE GAY, ACT LIKE YOUR GAY, OR TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT BEING GAY IN AFRICA…AT LEAST YOU CAN NEVER ACCUSE A GAY PERSON OF LEAVING A CHILD BEHIND BECAUSE, IT SEEMS TODAY, THAT GAY PEOPLE IN U.S.A. ARE ADOPTING THOSE LEFT-BEHIND CHILDREN AND GIVING THEM LOVE AND A FUTURE….SO, LET’S CUT BACK ON NEWBORN BABIES AND TAKE CARE OF THE BABIES WE ARE PRESENTLY IGNORING THROUGH CHOICE…LET’S ACCEPT PEOPLE AS A WHOLE RATHER A MINUS…LET US NOT GO BACK TO THE DARK AGES OF WAR ON PEOPLE AND, ESPECIALLY, WAR ON WOMEN AS TO THE CONTRACEPTION DISCUSSION THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME

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  3. RAMESH5 months ago

    Pope’s praise of Church workers who educate people on chastity will go a long way to prevent spread of HIV and be a morale booster for Church workers

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  4. Krzysztof Ciuba5 months ago

    Thanks God.There is still the biblical Rest who listens to God’s word=Humanae Vitae of Paul vi

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