Melinda Gates on the importance of access to contraception worldwide


by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

So I've been working on a project related to maternal health for the Nashville-based, nonprofit organization Hope Through Healing Hands, and in my research, I bumped into this very cool 2012 TED Talk from Melinda Gates about the importance of access to contraception worldwide. I especially appreciated that Gates spoke so openly about her Catholic faith and her conviction that access to contraception is an important social justice issue. 

"Some people think that when we talk about contraception that it's code for abortion," she says, "which it's not. Some people--let's be honest--they're uncomfortable with the topic because it's about sex. Some people worry that the real goal of family planning is to control populations. But these are all side issues that have attached themselves to this core idea that men and women should be able to decide when they want to have a child...Birth control has almost completely and totally disappeared from the global health agenda. And the victims of this paralysis are the people of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia." 

More than 200 million women in the developing world want to use contraception but do not have access to it. As Gates explains, access to contraception would dramatically curb maternal deaths, infant deaths, poverty, and illness.  If every mother waited two years in between her children, it would help save the lives of 2 million kids every year. 

This article details much of what Gates says in the talk, if you're interested in reading. 

Just seemed to important not to share! 

[For more, see my friend Rachel Stone's piece, "Birth Control and the Debate We Shouldn't Be Having."

 

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