Melinda Gates on #NoControversy Contraception
May 22, 2012 BY Amie Newman
Access to contraception and family planning--tools to help women and families plan for the families they want and care for the families they have --is considered controversial in too many countries around the world. But it's not. It's why we launched our #NoControversy campaign and accompanying storytelling site--to tell the thousands of stories of women and men from around the world who absolutely do not think access to contraception is controversial.
In fact, Michelle Goldberg writes about the foundation's newest family planning initiative in her Newsweek article today, "New Crusade: Investing Billions in Women's Health." In the article, Goldberg notes,
"...in a move that could be hugely significant for American women, it is pouring money into the long-neglected field of contraceptive research, seeking entirely new methods of birth control. Ultimately [Melinda] Gates hopes to galvanize a global movement. “When I started to realize that that needed to get done in family planning, I finally said, OK, I’m the person that’s going to do that,” she says."
Whatever your feelings surrounding Melinda's newest and long term "crusade", it's hard to argue with some basic facts. Goldberg writes that "there's been very little investment in contraceptive research and development." In fact, Gary Darmstadt, the foundation's Director of Family Health told Michelle Goldberg that the area of funding has "stagnated" over the years.
It's also difficult to ignore the experiences of the poorest women around the world, Melinda Gates' passion which fuels this agenda, and, ultimately, the incredible stories of women and men from around the world who share their stories on our storytelling platform, "How Have Contraceptives Changed Your Life?". Read some below - and then head over and answer the question for yourself.
Below are just a few:
"As living beings designed to procreate humans will always be having sex - its natural. But with advancements in medicine and increase in average life expectancy on the planet there is a need to ensure that sex results in childbirth ONLY when planned and intended by those involved. Its not about choices or rights , But the use of contraceptives to plan childbirth is about doing the right thing! for yourself, your family, your own kind and the planet ( we only have one of it)."
"When I was pregnant, I was told not to do a lot of work, like fetch water. I was told it may cause the baby harm, so gave the work to other women. My first baby was delivered at home. The other children were also delivered clean and healthy at home. Many people in the village have problems. Many mothers have died during birth because there is no doctor. Some mothers deliver safely, but with most births either the mother or child dies. In the village, you are liked only if you have children. Even if you are married, if you don't have children, you will be left behind. But if you have children, that is when you are viewed as a person. If you do not have children, things like food and necessities will go to other women. It is like they love you because you have children. When I came of age, I got married. So, I'm useless. If I went to school I could have done something. So my advice to mothers is to put all your children in school."
"Not only contraceptives, but low-cost access to them, allowed my husband and me to finish college. Now he has a great job, and we are blessed with a healthy, loved toddler."
-Amy, United States
What's your story? The power of your words, your experience, and your belief that access to contraception is critical, can help change the lives of millions of women around the world.
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