Bill and Melinda Gates are stepping up their efforts to promote contraception around the world.
"I didn't fully appreciate how much contraceptives changed my life because I never lacked access to them," Melinda Gates writes in a new editorial for CNN.
Gates is leading a new campaign that will launch Wednesday, bringing world leaders, non-governmental organizations, donors, business leaders, and others together in London to pledge their support to "help transform the lives of the world's poorest women and girls."
The Seattle-based Gates Foundation has launched an online signature drive titled "Contraceptives are not controversial."
"There is no controversy in empowering women to decide if and when to have a child. Today, more than 200 million women and girls in developing countries who don't want to get pregnant lack access to contraceptives," says the pledge, which is featured on a dedicated site that includes a number of stories in support of contraception from women around the world.
I'm passionate about family planning because when I travel and talk to women in developing countries, what's universally clear is that they demand access to contraceptives. They want the power to determine their future. They know that when they can decide when they have children, they are healthier, their children are healthier, their families are more successful and their communities are more prosperous.
"Access to contraceptives saves lives and leads to healthier, more prosperous families, communities and nations. Surely, there is no controversy in raising your voice for millions of women and girls who want access to lifesaving contraceptives," Gates writes.