Melinda Gates Defends Contraception Funding

With Catholics around the world howling in outrage at the Gates Foundation for funding more access — or access at all — to birth control, especially in developing countries, Melinda Gates did an interview with CNN and defended the efficacy and importance of those programs.

While most Catholics, in the United States, at least, according to polls, seem to agree with Gates that contraception for women is not controversial, some Catholic bloggers are taking issue with the plan.

One blog in particular,, has frequently published diatribes against Gates, calling into question her faith, and calling her plan a “blatant attack on Catholic sexual morality.”…

According to the Gates Foundation website, the focus of the family planning initiative will be on urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, areas where maternal and infant mortality rates are high and contraception use is low.

“Africa’s the one place really in the world, for the most part, that contraceptives haven’t been available and it’s really been a crime,” said Gates. “If you see what’s happened in other countries that have had contraceptives, they use them first of all and the birth rates go down. … The question is could it have come down even more quickly?”

Gates frequently cites research from a decades-long study in Bangladesh as a rationale for family planning. Given the ability to space out their children using birth control, women can begin what Gates calls a “virtuous economic cycle.”

The study, started in the 1970s in Matlab, compared a group with access to contraception and birth-control education to a similar group that did not have access to those things.

“(In) the community that had access to contraceptives, the women chose to use them, the families grew up wealthier, fewer women died in childbirth,” said Gates. “And what we’re seeing happening with that is that it’s playing out again all over the world. These small scale things you have in terms of giving a family the access leads to huge economic changes. ”

Universal access to birth control is not only crucial for restraining population growth, it’s also necessary for women to achieve anything even remotely like equality in nations all over the world. Kudos to Gates for not backing down and for making this the number one priority for the foundation.

"I've always wanted to ask "professionally impassive" news reporters how they would have covered Kristallnacht ..."

Trump Using Demagoguery to Defend Child ..."
"Gas conversion is a better option where possible. Who wants to deal with all those ..."

We All Lose When Trump Picks ..."
"> His picking of economic winners and losers, especially through the use of tariffs, will ..."

We All Lose When Trump Picks ..."
"Probably not. It would be a shaky case against a private actor. A president speaking ..."

We All Lose When Trump Picks ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Chiroptera

    One blog in particular,, has frequently published diatribes against Gates, calling into question her faith, and calling her plan a “blatant attack on Catholic sexual morality.”

    Huh. Because when this is also true:

    …most Catholics, in the United States, at least, according to polls, seem to agree with Gates that contraception for women is not controversial….

    I would say that and the Catholic hierarchy itself are engaging in a “blatant attack on Catholic sexual morality.”

  • …and calling her plan a “blatant attack on Catholic sexual morality.”

    Catholic sexual morality is a fucking joke. It’s not based on superior knowledge or experience of any human situation, it’s not based on any sincere desire or will to improve conditions for anyone anywhere, it’s not even based on the Bible. On issues relating to sex and reproduction, the Catholic Church as absolutely ZERO moral authority whatsoever; and that’s not even counting their internal sex-abuse scandals, which prove even more starkly how worse-than-useless their doctrine really is.

  • “blatant attack on Catholic sexual morality.”…

    You’re ignoring me and don’t care about my opinions! That’s an attack!

  • raven

    Thomas Aquinas president says birth control mandate crosses line ……/thomas-aquinas-president-says-birth-control-line/…

    9 Feb 2012 – “I know that the 99 percent of women who use birth control in their lives will make …. The constitution does forbid the government from imposing a religion on us however (think Church of England). …. The fact is, however, that 98% of Catholic women use birth control. …. http:/ /

    According to the US CDC, 98% of Catholic women in relevant cohorts use birth control. The family size of Catholics in the USA is identical to the national average at 2+.

    The Catholic church is immoral and evil on this issue and everyone knows it.

    People quite sensibly just ignore the twisted old men who call themselves “priests” and do what they think is right.

  • raven

    I sometimes wish I was Catholic so I could run screaming out of the church.

    But it isn’t a total loss. Half my extended family is Catholic. AFAIK, none of them attend mass anymore. One is a mid level lay official though. In a Protestant church.

    The US RCC has lost 1/3 of their members lately, 22 million people. These days the cuckoo priests are just fiddling and burning their church to the ground.

  • Chiroptera

    How about all those governors who sign execution orders?

    By this same reasoning, those people should be even more guilty of blatant attacks on Catholic morality.

    Funny how the most visible Catholic spokespeople let that one go by.

  • raven

    “blatant attack on Catholic sexual morality.”…

    Not quite true. Catholic membership sexual morality in the USA is very similar to the national averages.

    It’s an attack on the blatantly evil twisted old men who run the Catholic church though.

    They earned it the hard way and deserve it.

    PS As most know, their anti-BC policy isn’t found in the bible. It’s just something a Pope made up and quite recently at that, the 1930’s or so.

  • d cwilson

    I guess if your “morality” says that raping young boys is A-Ok, you don’t see much need for contraception.

  • Michael Heath

    From the email blasts I get from Americans United, they appear to be increasing the number of complaints they file against the Catholic church. Lately their target is the Catholic hierarchy illegally promoting a Romney victory given the president’s recent actions on access to health insurance which includes birth control coverage. It seems the Catholic hierarchy isn’t only losing the culture war on women in the public square, but also with its own laity and the nuns. That hierarchy therefore responds by seeking to leverage government power to fight a battle it’s impotently losing with its own base.

    Especially ironic is conservative protestants actually supporting the Catholic hierarchy’s efforts to win a battle with its own members; as if they never promote the infringement of religious freedom rights on others and instead, falsely promote the idea the president is the greatest threat to religious freedom in recent history.

  • NitricAcid

    The Catholic Church keeps reminding me about the “whited sepulcher”- nice and clean on the outside, all filth and corruption within.

    Now I can’t shake the mental image of the pope as a vajazzled sepulcher.