In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, "tried to deflect controversy" surrounding the London Summit on Family Planning to take place this week, stating that "giving women better access to contraception had become her lifetime's work," the Guardian reports (McVeigh, 7/7). "On Wednesday, the Gates Foundation and the British government will convene a summit of world leaders in London with the goal of raising $4 billion to make contraceptives available to an additional 120 million women in the poorest countries," the Seattle Times notes, adding, "The move puts the Gates Foundation on a collision course with the Catholic Church and elements of the religious right" (Doughton, 7/7). U.K. Minister for International Development Andrew Mitchell supported Gates, saying, "We have to focus on what we know there is widespread support for," according to the Guardian.
"Gates, who is a practicing Catholic, has been targeted by religious groups, which have described her mission as a 'blatant attack on morality' and an elitist effort at population control," the Guardian writes, adding, "In response Gates said the lack of family planning available to 210 million women was 'a crime'" (7/7). "'We're not talking about abortion. We're not talking about population control,' Melinda Gates said in the Berlin TEDxChange talk where she kicked off her initiative in April," the Seattle Times writes. "What I'm talking about is giving women the power to save their lives, to save their children's lives and to give their families the best possible future," she added, according to the newspaper (7/7).