"I've heard from women all over the world about how important contraceptives are to their ability to take charge of their futures," she wrote in a new op-ed.

By Faith Brar
Updated: February 13, 2017

Last week, Melinda Gates penned an op-ed for National Geographic to share her views on the importance of birth control. Her argument in a nutshell? If you want to empower women worldwide, give them access to modern contraceptives. (Related: The Senate Just Voted to Stop Free Birth Control)

In a bold statement, the notable humanitarian pledged to provide contraception access to 120 million around the world by 2020 through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates has been making this issue a priority since 2012 when she co-chaired the Family Planning 2020 summit with leaders from around the world. She admits that as of right now, they are not quite on track to reach their "ambitious but achievable goal" by the promised date, but intends to keep her promise no matter what it takes.

"In the decade and a half since Bill and I started our foundation, I've heard from women all over the world about how important contraceptives are to their ability to take charge of their futures," she wrote. "When women are able to plan their pregnancies around their goals for themselves and their families, they are also better able to finish their education, earn an income, and fully participate in their communities." (Related: Planned Parenthood Campaign Asks Women to Share How Birth Control Helped Them)

She also shares how important birth control has been in her own life. "I knew I wanted to work both before and after becoming a mom, so I delayed getting pregnant until Bill and I were sure we were ready to start our family. Twenty years later, we have three children, born almost exactly three years apart. None of that happened by accident," she shares.

"The decision about whether and when to get pregnant was a decision that Bill and I made based on what was right for me and what was right for our family-and that's something I feel lucky about," she continued. "There are still over 225 million women around the world who don't have access to the modern contraceptives they need to make these decisions for themselves." And that's something she's determined to change.

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