Melinda Gates Launches Global Crusade for Contraception

American philanthropist Melinda Gates wants to put family planning and contraception on the global agenda with a $4 billion war chest. Here's why this is a big deal

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British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, Melinda Gates and British International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell talk with activists during the London Summit on Family Planning on July 11, 2012

Melinda Gates wants to put birth control back on the agenda. In May, the billionaire philanthropist announced she plans to make family planning her signature, promising billions of dollars to promote contraceptive use, particularly in poor nations. Today, at the London Summit on Family Planning, co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.K., she put the plan into action, officially launching a $4 billion fundraising campaign. It is being billed as landmark show of support for an issue that has long languished on the margins of development policy. Here, quickly, are three things you should know:

(MORE: The World at 7 Billion)

1. This is big. And not just because of the money. Decades of research show, conclusively, that improving access to contraception is good for women, good for children, good for countries. Yet over the past 15 years, support for family-planning programs has plummeted. The redirection of development funds to HIV/AIDS programs explains some, but not all, of the drop. Coercive campaigns like China’s one-child policy and forced sterilizations in India have fostered suspicion about state-backed population programs. Conservative religious groups, particularly in the U.S., have tried to link family planning to forced abortion. In 2002, President George W. Bush cut funding to the U.N. Population Fund completely, turning birth control into a bad word. The cause has yet to recover. Backing from Gates, a Catholic who is respected by conservatives and liberals alike, could turn this around.

2. This could save lives. A Johns Hopkins University study published this week in a leading medical journal, the Lancet, estimates that contraceptive use prevents 272,000 maternal deaths per year. And yet, according to U.N. research, an estimated 220 million women have an unmet need for modern family planning. The Gates Foundation hopes to address this gap. If it succeeds, lives will be saved.

3. This is only the beginning. Family planning is not a panacea.  The London Summit and the Gates Foundation’s pledge are positive steps, but it is important to remember that contraceptives alone are not enough. Women need condoms and pills, yes, but they also need to have the power to use them — or not use them — as they wish. They need decent medical care and access to safe abortions. Without this, all this, the battle won’t be won.

Rauhala is an Associate Editor at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @emilyrauhala. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME


49 comments
jfleecebandung
jfleecebandung

I am quite interesting in this topic hope you will elaborate more on it in future posts

paulaarden
paulaarden

Good luck, this way "we" can help "them" because "they" can't help themselves. Positives aside, and there are potentially many, from the other side of this us amp; them divide, this will often be seen as one of those "we're from Head Office and we're here to help you" scenario's. True change (i.e. Revolutionary change) comes from the bottom, always does - don't we ever learn?

Here's hoping The program sparks a "bottom up" change, however well intentioned the "top down" motivation and intent.

Strange the wasteful wealthy need to do this when the world could feed the planet if we changed our swords into plow shares

katya21
katya21

Thank you Melinda Gates and keep up the good work! Not only is the use of birth

control good for the prevention of unintended pregnancies but it also has an impact on the rate of women who find themselves in

abject poverty. While the form of contraceptive that a woman uses should be

limited to the person(s) using such a device, the access to birth control

should NOT be limited. The problem with birth control is that, a lot of times,

the people who are responsible for the creation of such devices are male

scientists, who do not have a clue on what it is like to use female

contraceptives. Not until the scientific community starts to allow more women

into their fold then, and only then, will most of the problem of birth control

be solved.  This innovative study on women paints a truer picture than

society would have us believe. Read more: http://www.thegreaterbooks.com...

Mike Holmes
Mike Holmes

People, the world population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, and there are estimates of 50 billion by the end of the century.  Mostly in the third world, leading to a flood of immigrants wanting to move to a more advanced country like here. 

As the population goes up we will not only run into shortages (of everything!), but also the odds of new diseases emerging jumps dramatically.  This is simply because of more opportunities (bodies) for them to start.  If one of these diseases spreads quickly and is hard or impossible to treat effectively, nobody is safe.  As the world warms up (for whatever the driving cause is), more disease vectors (mosquitoes and other bugs) will move into northern latitudes. 

This isn't just a good idea.  This is about survival.

f_galton
f_galton

Mrs. Gates should be applauded for trying to reduce the number of non-white births.

GizmoDuck
GizmoDuck

Thank God. We need more contraception so birth rates decline and maybe we can start decreasing Earth's population.

elMisses
elMisses

Melinda Gates should think about the idea that American sponsored programs that support family planning, contraception and yikes abortion are interpreted in many areas as US control  mongering and are very badly judged in developing areas. Be careful Melinda, education, training and support for development loans would give a much prettier picture of you and your aid.

Cole Stevens
Cole Stevens

Try pitching your story in Pakistan or any other Muslim nation Ms. Gates.  I'm sure you will get a standing ovation.

torringtongirl
torringtongirl

Has anyone noticed that Gates' crusade is targeted only for the destitute, the marginalized and women of color in the poorest of countries? I see eugenics at play here; something good and well-meaning people like Gates might not be entirely aware of.

torringtongirl
torringtongirl

Has anyone noticed that Gates' crusade is targeted towards the poorest of the poor and the marginalized? I see eugenics as the underlying goal of good people like Gates who might not even realize what they are doing 

jeanmarie476
jeanmarie476

Respect. There is somebody who is working towards ' REAL ' problem of the world. Just wish them good luck..

Roger394
Roger394

Respect. There is somebody who is working towards ' REAL ' problem of the world. Just wish them good luck..

ilirp
ilirp

the "facts"  proclaiming the benefits of family planning are a distortion of reality

ilirp
ilirp

random acts of ignorance

Silvia Constantin
Silvia Constantin

I see so many narrow-minded people commenting here. Yes, we do need to control population, it is a fact. Yes, women need the power to choose when they have a child and how many children they have. And no, this is no devious strategy by some hidden, malefic and elitist organization. It is just an act of charity by an exceptional woman who deserves praise for her work. Instead of wailing of eugenics and population control by evil forces, do something about all those families with over 5 children, all starving and living in inhumane conditions. Otherwise, just shut up!

ukrberserker
ukrberserker

Just more of the Bilderberg population control agenda. If all the rich elite are so worried about overpopulation, why don't they start by killing themselves. That would be really useful, instead of controlling third world population. Want to volunteer Melinda?

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

The Catholic church states that only heterosexuals cannot use contraception . LGBT 's and priests can .

Sally Bingham
Sally Bingham

Anyone who has had an abortion (aside from having one as the result of a rape or incest I would imagine) and not regretted it later is running away from something.  A "safe abortion" is not the answer for leading a happy life.  Women who have self-control and self-respect will find happiness.  A program that teaches that they can sleep around and be sexually active with multiple partners and just use a contraceptive (or whatever is needed to prevent or terminate a birth) is the wrong approach if the dignity and well-being of the individual is the goal.

Dr Billy Kidd
Dr Billy Kidd

Finally, Milinda Gates does something that addresses the source of all the world's problems: over-population. Way to go, baby!

Abso Lutely
Abso Lutely

 Many of the countries that the US, UN, WHO, GAVI

and the Gates Foundation support, especially in Africa and Asia, oppress,

discriminate against, persecute, prosecute, imprison, torture, and even murder

their own citizens who happen to be homosexual. Instead of the UN and other

international organizations pouring money into these bigoted countries, the

organizations should tell the countries to take the money they use to harm

their gay citizens and use that money to buy vaccines and medicines instead.

These disgusting countries should not be using their scant resources to destroy

the lives of innocent citizens who happen to be homosexual when there are more

positive and productive things these bigots can use the money for to help all

their citizens, including those citizens who are born gay. The US, UN, WHO,

GAVI and the Gates foundation should be absolutely ashamed to support the

harassment, oppression, imprisonment, torture, and murder of so many innocent

people. Until those practices are ended, no country, group, or individual

should provide any aid or assistance to these countries.  These disgusting countries should be

boycotted, sanctions should be brought against them, and they should be treated

as pariah nations.  

gabrielouie
gabrielouie

To Emily R. amp; Melissa G.  Contraceptives don't protect against STD's(sexually transmitted diseases).  What will you tell the women to do about that side of it?

TheMatrixDNA
TheMatrixDNA

This is the most approved action by Matrix/DNA worldvision. As a guy that grew up in the streets, without house and family, due missing responsibility of ones and stupid values of religious and vampires capitalists that need cheap work, to me this is the most heroic act in favor of survive and free progress of human kind. The existence of people with wisdom and real love for human kind  like Bill and Melinda is is our most precious treasure. My disposable few dollars will go to this fundraising.

f_galton
f_galton

The world doesn't need more low IQ people.

Delmar Knudson
Delmar Knudson

Contraception is available and used by the educated first world population, including a lot of caucasians now.  The poor have never had a decent chance at it.  Spacing children does a lot for the mother's and children's health.  Anti-eugenics is not synonymous with being perpetually poor and unhealthy.

jadzeeia
jadzeeia

Huh?  OK, here are more "facts":  since women have little to no control in their relationships with their husbands (in that part of the world) they have no say regarding sex and so, when hubby (aka "abuser") wants sex, he gets it or he beatsthe crap out of her.  Then, she gets pregnant.  And this happens throughout her life so she has no control over her body.  She keeps getting pregnant and having kids and since this happens to all the women, its a population nightmare.  Giving them contraception can give them the ability to have some control over their own lives and gives them the ability to space children or to have just one.  Wow, what a concept! 

Enrique Samson
Enrique Samson

#1. Nothing wrong with 5+ children families. They're talking about promoting abortion. How is that charity? This is exactly the opposite of charity: http://www.abortiontruth.com/p... Warning: it's "just" aborted babies but it's not pretty. If it hurts to see, then there's definitely something wrong with it.

#2. Overpopulation is a myth. You can fit the whole world's population in less than the US territory with a decent density, like Houston's. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/t...

#3. It's a mathematical fact that you need 2.1 children to replace every couple. With current rates below that you produce an overaged population without enough young people to pay for the elder's needs. That's why the US will not be able to afford retirement funds a couple of generations down, like it's happening to Greece right now, or like it's happening to the Nordic economies who have to tax income with rates above 50% to sustain the elder. The danger of this: the potential promotion of euthanasia of the elder. Not charity either. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

"How can anyone say there are too many children? That's like saying there are too many flowers" -Mother Theresa.

http://www.scborromeo.org/docs...

DontMakeMeComeDownThere
DontMakeMeComeDownThere

 "It's a fact that we need to control population"????? Do you know what the word "fact" means?

But kudos to you for blowing a hole in the Gates' "This isn't about population control" meme. I mean, everyone knows they're full of it, but it's valuable when even their supporters admit it.

And when is just one traditional media outlet going to ask Melinda a tough question? So far, her hardest interview (in ways that she still probably doesn't get) was with Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert.

When did the media decide it was their job to carry water for the 1%? Actually, the .000001%?

Diego Ugalde
Diego Ugalde

What are you even saying? The scope isn't to kill people, you don't have to go all Conspiracy Carlos on us with the Bilderberg "control agenda" either. The idea seems to be to help women realize that if they have sexual intercourse without contraceptives it is vital for them, their baby, and ultimately their community that they be able to support this baby and not have him starve or die during child labor... 

Domush
Domush

Doing what makes a person happy brings happiness you peachy bag. Go indoctrinate your twelve children who will live on taxpayer money you welfare case.

Diego Ugalde
Diego Ugalde

The point isn't to promote promiscuity or abortions! You've got it all wrong! The point is to stop the actual impregnating of women who will most likely not be any less or more promiscuous with  contraceptives. What it does is it just stops them from getting pregnant several times with babies they cannot support who many ultimately die from starvation/lack of medical supplies/during birth...

Aaron Schooley
Aaron Schooley

It's not all about sleeping around. This is also not specifically about abortions. Many women in monogamous relationships need contraceptives, especially in poorer nations where women don't have as much power and if their partner wants sex they can't say "no honey, I've had enough children". Those women need access to contraception so they can survive the conversion of their country into a 21st century nation. Even women with a loving and respectful spouse would still have trouble resisting hormonal temptation and the methods available to them such as the "calendar method" are vastly inferior to condoms or oral contraceptives. These women, by shear probability will have many children over their lives, increasing the risk to themselves and burdening a developing nation with a large population. 

I assume you believe that you possess "self control" and "self respect" so I assume you must not be on any contraceptive. You must either be single or have many children. Unless you are on contraceptives but have engaged in special pleading to allow yourself to remain respectable and in control while on contraceptives while simultaneously accusing other women of being out of control and lacking self respect for having the same practical needs. 

vickery
vickery

Good point. If we could get rid of all humans then we could end all misery and suffering. 

population101
population101

Fertility rates are actually dropping. This is not the problem of the world. Here is a link of a  Synopsis  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... of what is really happening. I think watching the documentary will open your eyes to things you don't realize.

TheMatrixDNA
TheMatrixDNA

The gay issue is off topic here, and it is other issue that keeps humans distracted in wrong and counterproductive way.  We can't abandon those poor population and what you suggests  (  "should be boycotted, sanctions should be brought against them, and they should be treated as pariah nations") should be driven over the dictators, their families, and supporters. For instance, do not be sympathetic to these pariah when they arrive to your country spending their dirt money.   

TheMatrixDNA
TheMatrixDNA

What?! More responsibility with human life, more study, more professionalism, and the result will be less sexism.  And less STD. Why are you disturbing this mission? Had you, like me, born slave due my parents were not instructed about the real world, I am sure you wouldn't be here disturbing in this way.

 I was protected against STD since my teenager and  all my life due a book from Charles Darwin: if you are weak, poor, slave, do not reproduce yourself, don't wait that natural selection does the job discarding your offspring, do it by yourself. The best way for avoiding STD is real education about the real world for teenagers which results in less sex.

woiebh
woiebh

The pill doesn't but condoms do. Condoms are 98% effective with ideal use and 85% effective with typical use.  That is significant protection.

If you are making that statement in comparison to abstinence then you are being silly.  That is like saying ‘Never riding in a car is the best way to avoid getting hurt in a car crash, therefore seatbelts do not protect against injury.’

 

vicenac
vicenac

Too bad your mother did not have access to "safe abortion"

f_galton
f_galton

I figured you were down with the streets.

ukrberserker
ukrberserker

Tell me that when they force vaccinate you and your family, moron

________________________________

From: Disqus <notifications@disqus.net>

To: stonewall52@yahoo.com

Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 5:44 PM

Subject: [globalspin] Re: Melinda Gates Launches Global Crusade for Contraception

Delmar Knudson wrote, in response to ukrberserker:

Hatred and ignorance do not become you.

Link to comment</notifications@disqus.net>

ukrberserker
ukrberserker

Wrong. Bill and Melinda Gates are both Bilderbergers, and are promoting mass vaccinations, and contraception in African countries. Funnily enough, Bill Gates just purchased a pharmaceutical company to manufacture the vaccines. These will either be poisoned vaccines, or a trial run for the Verichip. Try reading Rense.com or some real news once in awhile.

________________________________

From: Disqus <notifications@disqus.net>

To: stonewall52@yahoo.com

Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2012 10:44 AM

Subject: [globalspin] Re: Melinda Gates Launches Global Crusade for Contraception

Diego Ugalde wrote, in response to ukrberserker:

What are you even saying? The scope isn't to kill people, you don't have to go all Conspiracy Carlos on us with the Bilderberg "control agenda" either. The idea seems to be to help women realize that if they have sexual intercourse without contraceptives it is vital for them, their baby, and ultimately their community that they be able to support this baby and not have him starve or die during child labor... Link to comment</notifications@disqus.net>

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

1. The point of contraception isn't to get rid of ALL humans - or even any - unless you count unborn children as people, in which case 98% of Americans have committed murder.

2. Population control wouldn't end ALL misery and suffering, but it would decrease the likelihood of starvation and sickness, and women in developing countries would be better able to plan their families.

byrd1
byrd1

Nope. ON the street.  Likely a popular corner..... "Hey sailor, wanna date?"

Guest
Guest

@google-763551abe45f4cc95aba27653394a2bf:disqus If that's a joke, then it's a pretty unfunny and illogical one. Also, if "go play tennis" is your idea of a joke, then you should seriously reconsider your sense of humor.

Cole Stevens
Cole Stevens

You need to chill.  Don't you know a joke when you see one.  Go play tennis.