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Melinda Gates Pledges $560 Million For Contraception 451

theodp writes "Melinda Gates has pledged $560 million as part of a campaign to expand access to contraception for women. From the article: 'The funding commitment was unveiled on Wednesday at the London Summit on Family Planning alongside pledges totaling $4.3 billion from the British government and leaders from African nations wrestling with the health and social problems brought on by high rates of unplanned pregnancy.'"
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Melinda Gates Pledges $560 Million For Contraception

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  • by Art Popp ( 29075 ) * on Thursday July 12, 2012 @03:53AM (#40625491)

    Kidding aside.

    She and her husband continue to show the best side of capitalism. For those that assume that wealth necessarily leads to avarice, it's delightful to me to see the Gates Foundation making that case more difficult to prove.

    To hear her explain the contraception issue: []

  • Gates for the win! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Buccaneer Waggerstrm ( 2682059 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @03:54AM (#40625497)
    This just shows the Gates family commitment to helping the world. Great job Melinda, slashdot appreciates your efforts!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:12AM (#40625579)

    She and her husband continue to show the best side of capitalism.

    Err, it's not capitalism at all. It's charity. Charity is a bandaid over the wounds of capitalism.

    Of course it's better to do this than to squander the money, just as it's right to help up a man who keeps falling over. But you're still treating the symptom, not the cause.

  • by ACTA sucks ( 2682615 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:18AM (#40625611)
    What marketing does Bill and Melinda Gates need? It's not like they're marketing for Microsoft - they're giving away their own money to help the world. Could you be any more selfish and bitter? What do you do for the good of the world?
  • by able1234au ( 995975 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:22AM (#40625631)

    ... breaking down the religious monopoly on this discussion? Abstinence has been shown to not work, yet it plays to the religious agenda

  • Philanthropy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dark grep ( 766587 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:27AM (#40625653)

    Many may well consider such acts of philanthropy completely altruistic. Whether you agree with the cause or not, only the most cynical of people would view it as 'marketing' or 'self promotion', and even if it actually is that; so what? The people who will benefit from it wont care - it doesn't matter what the motivation for doing it is, the end result is what is important.

    Personally, I think the motivation is truly altruistic and comes from a genuine desire to do good in the world. The point I would make is; anyone 'richer than God' is going to acquire the same philosophy. Why are mega rich people altruistic? Because they can be. When every conceivable want and desire is met, what is left but to be generous to your fellow man?

    I for one would welcome the opportunity to do exactly that myself. If only I had some software I could sell to IBM.

  • by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:35AM (#40625709)
    You appear to be confusing contraception with abortion. While abortion is an issue still much debated, the ethics of contraception are more-or-less settled now for everyone except the Catholic church and a few other religious groups, and even they don't equate it with murder.
  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @05:03AM (#40625847)
    The best marketing half a billion dollars can buy?

    Take the tinfoil off.
  • Re:I hate her now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by clemdoc ( 624639 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @05:14AM (#40625883)
    contraception != abortion.
    I know, it's very difficult to understand the difference, but trust me, there is one...
  • Re:I hate her now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @05:26AM (#40625941)

    > There is a big difference between wanking in the toilet n aborting a baby.

    But we arent even talking about a "baby" because in the early weeks of pregnancy, there is no baby. There is a big difference between a bunch of cells that have the potential to grow into a baby and an already grown up baby.

    I know that it is hard to draw an arbitrary line, but a line has to be drawn _somewhere_, since pretending that a single fertilized egg is the same as a living, breathing, feeling human baby is ridiculous.

  • by geekymachoman ( 1261484 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:08AM (#40626155)

    What marketing does Bill and Melinda Gates need? It's not like they're marketing for Microsoft - they're giving away their own money to help the world. Could you be any more selfish and bitter? What do you do for the good of the world?

    And if you think that the only way to do good for the world is with money(seems there are entire cultures based on this - money is your god idea), then no wonder this planet's becoming a shit hole.
    What happened to just being good to each other, self sacrifice.. about actually "giving" and caring for people ? Maybe the guy you said this to is doing exactly that, but I guess that doesn't count in your eyes, yes ?

    There are many ways in which you can do good.
    Don't fall for strict left/right, good/bad, good guys/bad guys philosophy of thinking. Everything matters. The only difference between us is that some people may do more to help, while other less, but that doesn't mean anything. We're collectively evolving and we're in a same boat, each every one of us.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:11AM (#40626167) Homepage Journal

    So, if you were in the Gate's position, how would YOU spend your money for the common good?

    Give it back to the people I stole it from through monopoly rent and hope that at least some of the additional damage I've done to the economy can still be undone.

    Do Economy 101 again and listen carefully on the part about monopolies.

  • by u38cg ( 607297 ) <> on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:15AM (#40626183) Homepage
    I'd spend it on institutional development. Fund anti-bribery agencies, pay for policy development in countries that can't afford it, endow independent newspapers, fund education abroad for future leaders. In short, give countries the tools to create the structures that allow real economic development.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:17AM (#40626201)

    > Forgiveness ... it's taught by bible

    No it isnt. The whole _point_ of christianity is blood sacrifice of Jesus to _atone_ for humankind's sins, because god refuses to simply forgive them.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:23AM (#40626231) Homepage Journal

    And the solution to capitalism is?

    Realizing that capitalism is an economic system, not a religion. It does not cover all of human existence nor all of societies needs. It covers the production and distribution of for-profit goods and services, and that is it.

    Art, health care, police, firefighters and other disaster prevention, education, public transport, communications, housing and other basics (energy, water, food, etc.) go beyond what capitalism can provide. This is where the better mix is some parts capitalism, some parts something else - whatever you want to call it.

    Unless, of course, you agree that people dying of thirst in the streets because the market has set an optimal price point for water above what they can afford is the kind of world you want to live in. Or that the thieves go free if they pay the police more than you do.

  • Re:I hate her now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:25AM (#40626239)

    Here's a secret: there is no God and you have no soul. There is no 'spark of life'. Life doesn't begin at conception. It began billions of years ago and is a continuous process. What makes us value our humanity is our sentience. Fetuses are not sentient. They are a piece of flesh until they gain sentience, at which time our laws consider them to be made of magic meat (sentient matter).

    Science will soon allow humans to be created artificially by synthesizing DNA and proteins, cloning processes, etc. There will be no conception, and only a surrogate mother. Effectively, they will be humans made by a machine. But they will gain sentience, and thus they will be human. But until they gain sentience they are just flesh.

    This argument is important because people use laws against abortion to oppress women. The rise of women in the workforce and the freedom to live their lives as they feel is due to the accessibility of abortion. Pro-choice is supporting women's rights. Pro-life is considering a woman's breeding capability to be more important than any other aspect of her life.

  • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @07:15AM (#40626449) Journal

    Small scale tribal communities will only scale well after an apocalypse.. And even then, they'll amount to bully-rules, as they always have. Something like the Taliban or the Pentacostals always turns up.

  • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @07:26AM (#40626497)

    Except that the birth control issue in Africa has nothing to do with capitalism, which kinda negates the point he was trying to make.... That's not capitalism at all, it's religious stupidity coupled with a culture that's set up to keep women down.

  • by Muad'Dave ( 255648 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @07:53AM (#40626613) Homepage

    ... very clearly ordered mankind in the Genesis to multiply and populate all the lands.

    We've done that. He didn't say "multiply and over-populate all the lands". Can we please put the "contraception is evil" one to rest?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @08:01AM (#40626659)

    So you're positing that the publicity from this will result in more than $560 million for Bil and Melinda?

    After all, they are just doing this for their own gain right? If it doesn't generate the "marketing" to earn them at leasdt half a billion then it's not really "the best side' of marketing is it?

  • by ooshna ( 1654125 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @08:04AM (#40626685)

    I think that $560 million can do a lot more for the world than if I volunteered at a soup kitchen. Sure I might make that homeless guys day but they can improve exponentially more lives than I can with that money. And I believe that until resource/energy sarcity is a thing of the past large somes of money put to good use in the right places will make a bigger impact on the world than what an individual can. You might be willing to donate your time and work hard but you have to pay for supplies. Your points are valid but don't try to take away from all the good the Gates do just because they are doing it with money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @08:23AM (#40626803)

    > Yes, forgiveness is taught by the Bible along with many

    The gist of the bible is "God cant forgive, therefore Jesus had to die, therefore we invented Christianity to thank Jesus for getting voluntarily punished instead of us."

    Whan the theological central pillar of the whole religion is based on non-forgiveness, it doesnt matter that forgiving is mentioned as a side note on page 843.

  • exactly

    capitalism is a beast of burden. yolk it and you can plough your land and do great things. let it loose and it runs roughshod over your farm, breaking everything

    you don't worship capitalism, you put it to work: you siphon off the excess capital and do some good with it. what's the alternative? richie rich getting another mansion?

    not that there shouldn't be rich people. but they are rich because of the society they are in. so that society needs to be taken care of

  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @08:59AM (#40627077)

    Errr...maybe...but at least for housing, capitalism tanked the U.S. and much of the World's economies. Now, they did have some help in local zoning law changes, government sponsored loan buying agencies. However, it was Wall Street that figured out how to securitize packages of loans and sell them out to the rest of the world. They happened to find ready helpers in the loan rating agencies, which are part of private enterprise.

    And let's not forget the American People, those paradigms of capitalist virtue who flipped houses, took out the equity of their existing houses, got second mortgages, bought houses they could ill-afford but were too stupid to realize it because it would have required they read the loan agreements they were signing.

    There were the private construction companies building McMansions right and left. Private banks all too willing to finance those puffs of capitalist buoyancy. Private real estate agents willing to sell anything to anyone knowing many couldn't possibly afford it.

    And there was the wall between the commercial and investment banks that came tumbling down because the bankers promised to be real good and modern banking required there be free private enterprise, well, golly, everywhere.

    So let's not get all teary eyed over capitalism and housing.

    Oh, and for profit colleges are raping returning servicemen and women blind offering anything to get them to sign on the dotted line. And health care is already privatized. You can tell because if you are unemployed and cannot afford it, you are shit out of luck. That's what capitalism does, it puts a price on everything. And if you cannot afford, you don't get it. Tell that to the fellow who paid his taxes for years until he had no job to pay them with because he got laid off at 50 and no private company will touch him with a ten foot pole.

  • by jellie ( 949898 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @09:04AM (#40627133)

    The free market has produced some quite amazing advances in medical technology. If the government would stop its practice of mandates, price controls, cost shifting and barriers to competition, medical services would once again be affordable. Education? Plenty of excellent private schools. If you want the service, pay for it. The free market has been superb with communications. Look at the evolution of cell phone technology. Steadily smaller, faster, cheaper and more capable. Thank $deity government isn't in the cell phone business. Housing? Another government clusterf***. We have an over-abundance of cheap food and I'm confident that we could ensure that people don't die of thirst without having men with guns confiscating our wealth and throwing us in prison.

    What? The free market has produced very few advances in medical technology. Many of the advances in the basic sciences (including biochemistry and physics) are sponsored by the government. The same goes for drugs and medical equipment. The free market has actually not developed many items on its own, without piggy-backing on projects that were originally or partially government funded. Interestingly, the government also pays a large portion of the costs of training medical residents.

    Price controls? There aren't any. I used to work at a very large biotech that sold good but absurdly expensive drugs, because there aren't any price controls that prevented it from doing so. And I actually argue for greater barriers to entry in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. There are too many drugs and devices on the market that don't work, and may do more harm than good. One of the first things we learned about in my CS courses was the Therac-25. Additionally, things like metal-on-metal hip replacements should not have been approved, given their high failure rates and higher tendency of causing metal toxicity.

  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Thursday July 12, 2012 @09:35AM (#40627391)
    Yes, it's an insightful article, for a very slanted and rather hypocritical definition of 'insightful'. Essentially the authors of the article seem to have decided that since the Gates Foundation sometimes partners with less-than-savory donors, such as Monsanto and the governments of the countries they work in, for matching funds that the Foundation itself is automatically no better. Rather like claiming that the soup kitchen on Skid Row is run by scumbags because they accept donations from drug dealers and lawyers.
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @10:14AM (#40627679) Homepage Journal

    Capitalism would do a better job with education, housing and healthcare if government would stop introducing massive distortions in the market.

    That's religious dogma, not truth. What evidence we have runs counter to what you claim. The most unregulated health care market (until recently) in the western world was the USA. Every other 1st world country has some kind of public health care. End result: The best, yes, and also the by far most expensive health care in the world.

    Education? You really want to go back to times when the general public couldn't afford schooling? You know, before the government stepped in, made it mandatory and picked up the tab? If you check history, you might notice that those weren't exactly the most progressive times.

    Art? Are you F***ing kidding? You're saying that painting, sculpture, theater, music and film would cease to exist without the power of governments?

    ...speaking of which, I see that education has failed you. Nowhere in my original posting did the word "government" even appear.

    You seem to be stuck in a world where only two things exist: Capitalism and Government. And you seem to think they are opposed. Please don't wake up and never look outside, you would die from the shock.

    Here's a funny thought for you: Capitalism wouldn't exist without a government enforcing it. Because the poor wouldn't respect the food or water prices. They would hit the merchant over the head with sticks and take what they need.

  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Thursday July 12, 2012 @10:54AM (#40628043)
    Old Catholic joke: Do you know what they call couples who use the rhythm method for birth control?

  • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @10:57AM (#40628069)

    That's not charity. Build scholls for poor people is charity, give food to poor people is charity

    Building schools so the worlds poor can learn to spell better than your average Anonymous Coward on slashdot is certainly a good example of charity. Giving food less so, except in exceptional circumstances like immediately after a natural (or man-made) disaster, as it is extremely difficult for local farmers to compete with free, so that type of charity just makes poverty worse in the long term. Distributing contraception is better overall for an impoverished community than distributing food.

  • by Jiro ( 131519 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @11:05AM (#40628143)

    It's not just that the Gates Foundation partners with unsavory donors, it's that the Gates Foundations own donations come with strings attached that benefit those donors, or lobbies governments to benefit those donors.

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