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Melinda Gates taking contraception to women worldwide

July 11th, 2012
05:59 PM ET

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.

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Francis Akinrinade

    The most important faith for humanity is every action motivated by love and freedom of choice. Giving others a lifeline

    July 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  2. Dadee Saye - The Gambia

    You just reminded me of the question asked by my Obstetrics lecturer in class. He asked, "if men were getting pregnant like women, will maternal mortality be high [in Africa]"? All the ladies shouted and said no. Why? They replied, "almost all our African presidents and high government officials are men. So they will not allow themselves to suffer. Everyone of us men in the class, including the lecturer, became speechless.
    This reaction shows that the injustice against women who have the obligation to keep the human species alive must stop now.

    July 11, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  3. Julia Scammahorn

    Ms. Amanpour,
    Thank you for doing stories that need to be done. Thank you for giving a voice to the voiceless. As a woman who works in broadcasting myself I so admire and appreciate your journalistic efforts ... printing/saying what others don't want to be heard. After all, isn't everything else just PR? Bravo.

    July 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Reply
  4. Blessing Affia

    honestly,i must admit that this gesture is an applaudable one.if we had most reputable people of high class stand to the truth without being biased,we will definitely be heading to a world of all round success.Talking about success,i define it as adding colour to other people's life.Here,Melinda Gates has done so well by putting a smile on the faces of so many women across the globe,i believe without any iota of doubt,her mission will be accomplished succesfully.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Reply
  5. meteorofpoo

    Doing the work that Margret Sanger couldn't do anymore. nice!

    July 11, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • gerald

      Ah margret sanger, the ugenisyst and racist. What a wonderful woman. Adolph Hitler learned alot from her. That's the truth.

      July 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  6. Tim

    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.

    Sorry, that has got me completely confused. So what does she say "Trust me I'm rich and white. I don't use contraception, but you should. You'll probably go to hell, but who cares at least we'll have fewer brown faces in the world..?"
    COME on Melinda, admit it Catholicism is part of the problem!

    July 11, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  7. pwaltri

    "Gates is a practicing Catholic" – false. Her actions go explicitly against the teachings of the church. Catholicism is not a democracy where believers are polled on what they believe to be true. Example: just because x% of Catholic women use contraception does not mean that x% are right – it means that x% are not truly Catholic. As long as she keeps this up, which I assume to be indefinitely, she should refrain from calling herself Catholic and certainly not receive communion.

    July 11, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • Laura

      Maybe this is one of the biggest problems with the Catholic church. God loves everyone. Not just those who take communion in the Catholic church.

      July 11, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Reply
      • pwaltri

        Make no mistake, God loves Melinda Gates. I never said otherwise. Whether or not someone receives communion has nothing to do with that.

        July 11, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
      • Dupsy

        The point is, it is a contradictory statement. Her actions go against the teachings of the catholic faith. This in particular is considered a mortal sin as it is not open to human life. Hence she should not be receiving holy communion, therefore not much 'practising' going on. Contradiction.
        Bless her, she has the right intentions, but alas...

        July 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  8. Diem

    Let's see, Mrs Gates is one of the richest person in the world and co-presiding over the richest foundation; she's out to alleviate the suffering of the poorest women of the poor everywhere by, among other things, teaching them about and proving them with means of contraception. I'm afraid you're wrong, Laura. The biggest problem the Catholic church faces is Melinda Gates. You've heard it here first. This will mark the beginning of the end of Catholicsm as we know it

    July 12, 2012 at 4:55 am | Reply
  9. Natalie Soysa

    How will the people respond under pressure from their religious leaders? I come from a country where many religions (Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam & Hinduism) are practiced devoutly and are all apposed to birth control. I'm curious to see if these women will embrace the free contraception or turn a blind eye to it in the face of 'spiritual opposition'.

    July 12, 2012 at 6:49 am | Reply
  10. Rhona Kyomuhendo

    Mrs.Gates is doing a good job. The African woman should be able to plan her pregnancies and also be safe from unwanted pregnancies. For long, the African population has been trapped in this terrible cycle of so many kids that parents can't to look after well. If a parent raises a child in poor conditions (poor education, social services and medical care), what are the chances of that kid's kids breaking out of that cycle?

    July 12, 2012 at 7:03 am | Reply
  11. Southern Graces

    God bless you, Mrs. Gates.

    July 12, 2012 at 7:29 am | Reply
  12. alaili

    the Earth thank you Mrs Gates, and our computers thank your husband :°)

    July 12, 2012 at 8:18 am | Reply
  13. bkcyhalo

    when the creator made them 'humans'he created them male and female....havent u heard about the messiah contradictin with the pharasies and sudacees,is it evil to do good on a sabbath?What MELINDA is advocating is 4 the good of humanity,catholic or not,she understands mre than critics,the communion wnt get u 2heaven

    July 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  14. stonecoldcon

    Contraception isn't "available" because they don't want it. Liberals always preach that we should accept the cultures of other people as they are. Of course when they want to push their own agenda that goes out the window. Maybe these people aren't looking for our advice. We can't even solve our own problems much less go around telling everyone else what they should be doing.

    July 13, 2012 at 1:05 am | Reply
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    July 28, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  16. Pixie56

    The anti-abortion argument was convincing, so we became more conscientious about using contraceptives. Now the pro-lifers have moved the goalposts, destroying their credibility and integrity.

    August 2, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  17. Leontine Trager

    If you find yourselves without condoms or another form of contraception then you should of course wait before you put yourself at risk – and there are other things you can do. Note however that full intercourse isn't necessary for you to be in danger of getting pregnant – it only takes a microscopic amount of semen to risk pregnancy. Likewise don't be fooled by thinking that you are safe from pregnancy at certain points during a woman's cycle – as the semen can live for long enough to negate this consideration...^


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    Does it mean that people are still dying of unwanted pregnancy-related death in Africa? Well, The Gates foundations have helped a lot in reducing this mortality. Great gestures from the American People.

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