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Melinda Gates on the Importance of Access to Contraceptives for All Women

Family planning, and the ability to access reliable, safe contraception is a basic human right. Yet many hundreds of millions of women around the globe do not have the ability to plan if and when they want children. Because of this, women, their families, and communities experience the continuation of the cycle of poverty. 

If women in developing nations were able to access contraception, women would be able to finish their education, get a job, and meaningfully contribute to their communities. The affects on the family unit are also profound—kids stay in school, families require less financial assistance from the government, and the economic stability of the community increases. Every factor contributing to poverty and every result of poverty improves, simply with access to birth control.

This focus on birth control for women in developing countries has been Melinda Gates’ concentration in her work for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From the Gates Foundation website: “Through her work at the foundation over the last fifteen years, Melinda has seen first-hand that empowering women and girls can bring transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities and societies. In 2012, Melinda spearheaded the London Summit on Family Planning, which adopted the goal of delivering contraceptives to an additional 120 million women in developing countries by 2020. Her work has led her to increasingly focus on gender equity as a path to meaningful change.”

Where are you at in your own family and future planning? Taking steps to protect yourself during times when you know you do not want to have children is the crucial beginning in taking control of your entire life, and that is no exaggeration. Modern birth control methods are versatile, safe, effective, and varied. Which means you have a lot of choices to find what fits your lifestyle the best. It can also mean increased confusion in making a decision. If you need help deciding what kind of method is best for you, call the experts at Northland Family Planning and schedule an appointment. If you happen to have unprotected sex before you are able to start a method, we also have the morning after pill available.

The 2012 London Summit on Family Planning set a goal to have birth control access reach the hands of 120 million more women in developing nations by 2020. They still have a lot to of work to do, and laws like the Global Gag rule from the United States certainly do not help, they only take women backwards. Gates continues to speak out about making sure the 225 million women who don’t have access to birth control get this basic human right. She credits her access to birth control for her own personal success.

What has birth control allowed you to do in your life? How has it positively affected the life of your family?