Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Why Contraception? Why Now?

April 05, 2012

Did you tune in to "The Big Picture", today's TEDxChange talk featuring Melinda Gates, Jeff Chapin, Theo Sowa, and others addressing some of the world's most pressing problems? If you missed it, you still have a chance to watch—the full video is embedded at the end of this post!

More than 1 billion people currently use birth control. For the most part, they do it without hesitation. They do it because they want the power to plan their own lives—and to raise healthy, happy families when they are ready to do so. There is almost no controversy around this routine fact of everyday life.

And yet 200 million women don’t have access to contraceptives. More than 100,000 of these women will die in childbirth. And another 600,000 will give birth to a child who dies in her first month of life. But we don’t talk about this inequity. We don’t talk about it because the uncontroversial idea of deciding when to have a child has somehow become shrouded in controversy. And the victims of this paralysis are the poorest people in the world.

I just delivered a TedxChange talk about this subject (and we'll soon have the talk available on video, in this post), because I believe that if we start talking about contraception, we will remember that there shouldn’t be controversy around this topic.

To help make this happen, our global TedxChange community is launching a storytelling project. We are asking you to contribute a story about the impact of contraception. If you can take a moment to appreciate the difference birth control has made in your life, the life of a loved one, a friend, or even a stranger, then we are more likely to build a movement, helping contraceptives make a similar difference in the lives of the poorest families in the world.

Here is my story. As a young woman, I felt confident in my future because I knew I had control over decisions about my family. I knew I could make plans and then carry them out.

What difference would it make if all women in the world, even the poorest, could make these decisions too? That’s a question I ask myself all the time.

I urge you to join us by telling your story. Together, we can make sure that millions more women get to tell stories like it in the years to come.

Watch live streaming video from tedxchange at
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