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Gates Foundation's Efforts To Improve Access To Contraceptives Will Improve Health, Lives Of Women, Children

“Supporters of women’s health ought to cheer the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s plan” to provide $1 billion over eight years to increasing women’s access to contraceptives and family planning services because the “effort underscores the critical role of family planning in the international battle to reduce poverty and improve maternal health,” a Seattle Times editorial states. While “Catholic leaders” and “social conservatives” might not agree with the effort, “Bill and Melinda Gates are not looking for a political or religious fight over women’s rights; they’re looking to add their resources to efforts to improve the lives and health of women and children,” according to the editorial.

After citing data showing access to contraceptives can improve child and maternal mortality rates, the editorial concludes, “Family planning has been on the back burner of the Gates Foundation while it trained its considerable philanthropic might on vaccines and other strategies to combat disease and high childhood mortality. This significant shift was a decision based on the Gates’ understanding that struggling families depending on children to help the family survive would not choose to have fewer children until they were sure more of their children would survive childhood” (7/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.