Melinda Gates: American Controversies Over Contraception Affect Women In The Developing World

Melinda Gates: Contraception Debates In The U.S. Hurt Women Internationally

Earlier this month, the GOP-dominated Congress started its new legislative session by introducing five anti-abortion bills. Meanwhile, states like Texas are defunding Planned Parenthood facilities, forcing them to close at rapid-fire rates. Although House Republicans have already dropped one of the one of the anti-abortion proposals, Melinda Gates warns that American indecision on issues of family planning and abortion could have implications that reverberate across the globe.

The United States’ fluctuating stance on these issues appears to be impacting the American maternal mortality rate, which has hit record increases when compared to other developed countries, but Gates emphasized the need for placing the focus on women internationally.

“I try not to get involved in the politics in the United States because I think that if I do that, I don't use my voice for the other women around the world,” she told HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressay-Tehrani on Wednesday. “There are 210 million women in the world that want access to contraceptives. If we get tied up in our own controversy in the United States, we don't do the right thing globally.”

While battles over family planning continue in the United States, women abroad are suffering, she added.

"Because of that controversy in the United States, we had consensus in the 1970s around contraceptives, we let it fall off the global health agenda," she said. "Over 90 percent of women in our country use contraceptives, but because of our own controversy, we’ve stopped giving them to women in the developing world. Yet women need to be able to time and space their pregnancies. It’s how you have healthy births."

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