100,000 women die in childbirth each year because of unintended pregnancies. Contraception could cut this number by a third, yet it is not available to more than two hundred million women in the developing world. Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda gates foundation, is combating this problem from the bottom up – getting birth control in the hands of women all over the world. She says family planning fell off the priority list because it was too difficult fighting from the top down, causing of controversy amongst religious and political leaders.
Gates is a practicing Catholic; and in spite of contraception being counter to Catholic doctrine, she says she wants to take this mission on as part of her life’s work partly because she is a practicing Catholic. She said that in her travels around the world she has seen women suffer because of a lack of family planning, so she believes that giving women the tools to space their births out and prevent high-risk pregnancies honors those parts of her religion which promote social justice and preventing suffering.
CNN’s Juliet Fuisz produced this piece for television.