Contraceptives summit: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Globally the world is celebrating the contraceptives summit. Donors, health ministers, charities and non governmental organisations will be coming together today in London and New York to discuss about the availability of contraceptives for men and women.

Further, Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of International Development will be announcing a further increase in investment in contraceptives today making DFID (Department of Funding for International Development) one of the largest supporters of women’s reproductive health.

This morning I was listening to the Radio 1 interview of Melinda Gates about the contraceptive summit. She was advocating for women’s right to choice about contraceptive access to ensure women have children later and with larger spaces between children. She mentioned fistula and other maternal health diseases and advocated strongly for global support.

While I commend Melinda Gates for her work in advocating for women’s access to contraceptives, I happen to be writing a report for women’s access to contraceptives for my work and know more about the political background of the organisation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation while is a strong advocate for contraceptives, but makes a strong stance against funding for abortions. The foundation has had a heavy sway with the global discussion on contraceptives and abortions and their position have influenced the services agencies can afford women.

While I commend the international discussion and attention the foundation has placed on women’s right of choice, we must remember a women’s right of choice must extend all the way to abortions as well. Until the foundation realises this and makes a political stand, they are only doing half the work of empowering women with choice.

The photo is of the Ortho tricyclen which is a form of the daily pill. The photo was taken from wikipedia under the creative commons license.