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Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates Delivers TEDxChange Speech On Access To Contraceptives

On Thursday at the TEDxChange conference in Berlin, Germany, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “delivered a powerful case for universal access to contraception for women around the world who need and want it,” the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. “She described birth control as an idea that, if made policy in both developed and developing countries, could save hundreds of thousands of women’s and children’s lives each year,” the newspaper writes, adding that she “noted being brought up a Catholic and being educated at church schools through high school, even that her mother’s great-uncle was a Jesuit priest.”

“The areas where contraception is most lacking, said Gates, are in sub-Saharan Africa — just 10 percent of Nigeria’s population uses modern birth control — and poor regions in South Asia. Fewer than 30 percent of women in India’s largest state have access to and use contraception,” according to the article. “The distribution of contraceptives is in no way linked to abortion or population control, as some critics have charged, Gates argued, adding, “We are talking about giving women the power to save their own lives and their children’s lives — and to give families the best possible future” (Connelly, 4/6).