Gates Takes Stance on Contraceptives that Opposes Religion
In Melinda Gates’ video interview on contraception, she explains the position she is taking and why she believes it is an important issue. Melinda Gates’ goal in pushing for education and availability of contraception is because, as she said, “I believe in not letting women die, I believe in not letting babies die, and to me that’s more important than arguing about what method of contraception [is right].” Gates, a practicing Catholic, says she struggled with this part of her faith, whether to hold on to the value of natural contraception or, as she said, to “keep women alive.” Although I agree with this position, that the important thing is the protection of life, as is central to the Catholic teaching, I disagree with her in some of the major points she presents.
To begin, Gates points out the Catholic teaching of contraception as the use of natural family planning, but then she goes to say that the main focus is to get modern contraceptives to women because “we know those have the most impact.” However, as is obvious, the most impactful form of contraception is abstinence, as the Catholic Church teaches and should not be overlooked just because of modern advances.
Although, part of me agrees that the use of contraceptives should be something women are informed about and should have the choice in how to best keep them safe, I also believe that it is important to make sure they are aware of all sides of the argument. A major portion of Melinda Gates’ argument is that modern contraceptives are safer than the traditional ones; however, I do not believe that this is the case. As we see in commercials all the time, modern contraceptives are hardly side effect free. Some women have been known to have terrible complications due to the use of contraceptives and we even know that they are not always 100% effective. The reason Melinda is targeting many of these women is because they are Catholic and believe in the teachings of the Church, including natural family planning. I think for these women the best idea is not to come in and teach them about modern contraceptives, but rather focus on what natural family planning is and the most effective way for them to stay true to what they believe. I also believe that this is not solely a female issue. In Gates’ interview, males in the Catholic Church are brought into question. Gates thinks the women should have the choice to make the decision, but family is a very important part of the Catholic Church and having a child is part of being a family, so I believe that male’s opinions in this case are indeed warranted.
From this interview, I would have to say that the position Melinda Gates is taking is not just one that involves women, but brings in religion, especially pertaining to the Catholic Church. She is not just trying to raise awareness of the benefits of contraceptives in the modern world; to me it seems as if she is trying to change the minds of a group very faithful to their religion, which somewhat troubles me as she says she is also a strong believer. I think her stance should be education rather than setting a quota for the number of women she will bring contraceptives to.
Hooda, S. (2012). Melinda Gates Disagrees with Vatican on Contraception at London Family Planning Summit (video). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/melinda-gates-disagrees-with-vatican_n_1665160.html
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