Melinda Gates Hopes to Help 96 Million Women Gain Access to Birth Control Over the Next 3 Years
With the fate of birth control up in the air after the Senate voted not to require health insurance to cover its cost under ACA plans, many are worried about how they’ll continue to afford contraception once changes to the current health care system are implemented.
Those living in states such as New York (which has already passed regulations to protects its residents) will likely remain covered, but others, like those in the states of Arkansas, Texas and Ohio, have serious cause for concern with regard to women’s healthcare.
Now, one woman in particular is stepping up to ease some of those concerns: Bill Gates (AKA the best Secret Santa ever)’s wife, Melinda.
Penning her own op-ed piece for National Geographic, Melinda says that she, as part of the global partnership she co-chaired in 2012 dubbed Family Planning 2020, still hopes to deliver on its promise to get 120 million women access to contraceptives by 2020 — despite the fact that they’re currently not on track to do so (at their halfway point of July 2016, they had reached 24 million women thus far).
It’s a cause that Melinda says is particularly close to home, not only as a woman who has benefitted from birth control herself (“The decision about whether or not to get pregnant was a decision that Bill and I made based on what was right for me and what was right for our family,” she says), but with regard to her global work as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“In the decade and a half since Bill and I started our foundation, I’ve heard from women all over the world about how important contraceptives are to their ability to take charge of their futures. When women are able to plan their pregnancies around their goals for themselves and their families, they are also better able to finish their education, earn an income and fully participate in their communities,” she writes.
Though the partnership would need to increase their productivity over the last three years by nearly 33 percent per year to hit their goal of 120 million, or 32 million women per year, Melinda is not deterred.
“In 2012, we made a promise to women around the world,” she explains. “Our actions over the next three years will decide whether we keep it.”
Here’s to hoping they’re able to do just that.
What do you think of Melinda’s lofty heath care goals? Share with us @BritandCo.
(h/t Allure, photos via Chip Somodevilla + Noam Galaim/Getty)