April 10, 2012 — Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in a speech at the TEDxChange conference in Berlin said universal access to contraception for women in developed and developing countries could save hundreds of thousands of lives annually, SeattlePI reports.
Gates, who is Catholic, said, "Some people think contraceptives are code for abortion, which they're not. Some people are uncomfortable because contraceptives have to do with sex. Some people worry that the real goal is to control populations." She added, "All of these side issues have attached themselves to the core idea that men and women should be able to decide when to have a child. As a result, birth control has almost disappeared from the global health agenda."
According to Gates "one of the simplest and most transformational things we can do is give everybody access" to birth control. She said sub-Saharan Africa and poor regions in South Asia have the largest need for contraceptives. She called for a goal of "universal access to the birth control that women want," which requires "rich and poor governments alike [to] make birth control a priority."
"We are talking about giving women the power to save their own lives and their children's lives -- and to give families the best possible future," she said (Connelly, SeattlePI, 4/6).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership