Melinda Gates pledges $560 million for contraception

LONDON Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:07pm EDT

Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, speaks at the London Summit on Family Planning in central London July 11, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates, speaks at the London Summit on Family Planning in central London July 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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LONDON (Reuters) - Melinda Gates has pledged $560 million as part of a campaign to expand access to contraception for women in some of the poorest countries in the world.

The funding commitment was unveiled on Wednesday at the London Summit on Family Planning alongside pledges totaling $4.3 billion from the British government and leaders from African nations wrestling with the health and social problems brought on by high rates of unplanned pregnancy.

The summit launched a program to extend family planning services to 120 million women out of an estimated 220 million around the world who want, but cannot get, reliable access to contraception by 2020.

Supporters of the campaign estimate that this year will see 80 million unintended pregnancies in developing countries.

They say 800 women die every day as a result of pregnancy-related complications - the leading cause of death for teenage girls in the developing world.

"When I travel and talk to women around the world they tell me that access to contraceptives can often be the difference between life and death," Gates said.

"Today is about listening to their voices, about meeting their aspirations, and giving them the power to create a better life for themselves and their families."

Government officials and aid agencies at the event said the involvement of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, set up by the Microsoft founder and his wife, would help re-frame a debate that has been controversial since the forced sterilizations in India in the 1970s and China's one-child policy.

Victoria Jennings, a director of Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health, said: "To have someone like her on the world stage saying 'come on', it does serve as a tremendous lever to ratchet up the concern."

Gates, a Catholic herself, has been criticized by some Catholic groups in the United States over her backing for the initiative.

But delegates steered clear of discussing Vatican opposition to contraception until one asked British Prime Minister David Cameron how the sponsors of the campaign could influence the Catholic Church to change course.

"The answer lies in the force of our arguments," he said.

To put the funding into context, the U.S. government's Agency for International Development, the largest single donor in this area, has committed to $640 million for family planning in the next year alone - up 40 percent under President Barack Obama compared to his predecessor George W. Bush.

Simply sustaining the current use of contraceptives by 260 million women in the 69 poorest countries over the next eight years will cost about $10 billion.

(Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (4)
umojaresearch wrote:
Bill Gates is known for his support of “Population Control” and a number of Web Sites have shared the audio of his belief that vaccination programs can help reduce populations in the world. So this pledge for contraceptions should not be surprising.

Although the idea of using contraceptives somehow saves lives, the beginning of contraceptive use in America can be trace to Margaret Sanger, who was jailed around 1917 for distributing contraceptives within poor populations. She believed all minority populations should be sterilized. After her book, “The Pivot Of Civilization”, opposition against her Nazi ideals were seriously challenged and she began to try another approach by creating “Planned Parenthood” as a means of saving lives.

The idea contraception somehow saves lives is very interesting, but opposition to the use of contraception has be going on since the early 1800′s.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in the last few years has been under scrutiny by a number of organizations and church groups, for its financial support of vaccinations programs, contraceptions, in addition to the support and distribution of Genetically Modified Organism Food products and agriculture, placed in Third World Cultures.

We each can draw our own conclusions to the meaning of this Pledge.


1. The Pivot Of Civilization, Margaret Sanger
2. Eugenics and Other Evils: An Argument Against Scientifically Organized State, G.K. Chesterton, Michael W. Perry
3. The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing And The Psychology Of Genocide, Robert Jay Lifton
4. Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality Since 1800, Jeffery Weeks
5. DVD, Genetically Modified Foods, Panacea or Poison?,
6. DVD, Vaccines, What CDC Documents and Science Reveal, Dr. Sherri J Tenpenny

Jul 11, 2012 7:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
gregbrew56 wrote:
For a relatively more balanced story of Margaret Sanger, see the Wikipedia article here:

It’s lengthy, but gives a good treatment of her legacy.

Jul 11, 2012 9:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
herbirem wrote:
Money well spent

Jul 12, 2012 10:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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