Melinda Gates Is A Leader In The Global Movement To Empower Women With Contraception

Can Melinda Gates save the women and children of the world? The female half of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is increasingly focused on the topic of maternal health, including a woman’s right to contraception. Gates continues to be a practicing Catholic and she talks about her faith and the Vatican’s opposition to contraception in her TED video.

As Republicans in Congress seek to once again ban any US aid that promotes contraception — returning us to the Bush years — Melinda Gates explains why the world must once again open up a conversation around a woman’s right to contraception. 

After an update about recent naked aggression by Republican politicos against the rights of American women, we share more news about several Melinda Gates initiatives and a GREAT new grant opportunity for birth control innovators. 

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1. Right to contraception coverage? Ask you boss. Sens. Fischer (R-NE), Cruz (R-TX, Johanns (R-NE) and Enzi (R-WY) introduced an amendment this week that allows a woman’s employer to deny her birth control coverage based on their beliefs. The amendment fell but did have the support of two Democrats Manchin (W. VA) of West Virginia and Pryor (ARK). 

The Senate passed exactly the opposite amendment, introduced by Sen. Shaheen (D-NH), that authorizes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect women’s access to basic health care. Included are primary and preventative health care; family planning and birth control; and employer-provided contraceptive coverage. 

Republicans Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Mark Kirk (ILL) also supported the amendment.

2. Sen. Rubio (R-FLA) wants to make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion, evading parental consent laws.  

3. Sen. Wicker (R-MISS) wants to stop all US dollars to the UN Population Fund, ending all efforts to bring contraception to women in developing countries. He proposes using the $23 million to fight malaria instead.

4. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) introduced legislation banning abortions based on gender.

5. Sen Fischer (R-NEB) wants a federal law that allows hospital and health care workers to opt out of dispensing emergency contraception or assisting in an abortion if they morally object to it.

6. What War on Women? Republicans acknowledge their recent report on the state of their party that President Obama won the single women’s vote by a “whopping 36 percent”. The report recommended reminding women of the historical role of the Republican Party in advancing women’s rights.

Unfortunately, today’s Republican party bears no resemblance to the one that lead the way for women’s rights.

A Republican court gave women the right to birth control; a Republican court passed Roe, granting women a right to an abortion. It was President Richard Nixon himself who supported the passage of Title X, a law that expanded the federal government-funding of contraception for poor women. (cont)

Today’s Republican party seeks to defund Title X. Today’s Republican party seeks to put Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of health care to poor women in many states, out of business. Refusing to accept the Hyde Amendment that insures no federal funds go for abortion, Republicans seek to put Planned Parenthood out of business. The fact that Mrs. Barry Goldwater started Planned Parenthood in Arizona is irrelevant to today’s Republican party. 

As Rachel Maddow said this week while Beltway leaders are “preaching about how to appear more reasonable to the women folk among us,” Republican governance has become a competition – a race – “to see who can get the most extreme the fastest.” Read on at SalonGOP will never reach women.

7. States determine women’s rights. Your rights are increasingly dictated by your zip code in America, making women and doctors criminals in some states and not others. 

Arkansas is competing with North Dakota to see who can pass the most anti-women legislation. Last night 800 people protested at the State Capitol.  In words that represent the old Republican party:

“We just wanted to come together and bring our voices together and say this is not right,” said Holly Barron. “We’re citizens of this state too. We’re just as equal as you and we deserve freedom and autonomy over our reproductive health and to make those private decisions with our family, with our faith and with our doctors, not with politicians.”

Tomorrow’s Condoms

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is prepared to support visionaries who conceive of a next-generation condom that enhances sexual pleasure. Today’s male condoms were first used about 400 years ago for contraception. In spite of an explosion in the world of technology, condoms haven’t changed much, leaving men totally reluctant to use them. 

On their website Impatient Optimists, the Gates Foundation writes:

“Researchers at the University of Washington are developing a condom using a technique known as electrospinning, which creates tightly woven fabric out of nanometer-sized polymer strands and which could be used to deliver spermicidal or microbicidal agents in addition to providing a barrier. 

Origami Condoms provides an excellent example of a private enterprise focused on new condom design to promote consistent use by emphasizing the sexual experience.”

The Gates Foundation is prepared to fund up to a $1 million grant to support the discovery of new condoms that men, in particular, will love and want to wear. 

Global Mom Relay

By Melinda Gates @ Huff Po


That’s why I’m excited to be supporting GirlUp for my leg of the Global Mom’s Relay, and I’m also enthusiastic about the other campaigns that are part of the Relay, including Shot@Life, Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action and Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. I’ve also included GirlUp on my Catapult page, a new crowdfunding site that helps fund projects that are improving the lives of women and girls around the world. GirlUp helps hundreds of thousands of girls in the United States build leadership skills by engaging them in important issues affecting their counterparts in poor countries around the world, issues like child marriage. The result of these campaigns is better, richer lives for girls everywhere through the nurturing of a common bond — the desire to determine their own future. Read on

Gucci for Women

Global luxury brand Gucci has launched a new global equality campaign for women, enlisting support from Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Chime for Change was formally launched at the TED conference in Long Beach last month. 

The founding committee for Chime for Change consists of pop star Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini, and actress Salma Hayek Pinault, married to a Gucci’s parent company executive. 

We’ll be writing a separate piece on Chime for Change. AOC has a long history of praising Gucci’s work for women.