The commitment was announced at a summit in London along with other pledges that totaled $4.3 billion from other nations and organizations. The summit launched the program aimed at expanding family planning to over 120 million women, by 2020, of an estimated 220 million who need but cannot get access regularly to contraception.
Campaign supporters estimated that in 2012 there would be over 80 million pregnancies that are unintended in developing nations. They also said that 800 women die each day due to complication related to pregnancy; the leading cause of female teenage deaths in the developing world.
Aid agencies and government officials attending the summit said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s involvement would help to reframe the controversial debate that has gone on since India’s forced sterilizations during the 1970s and the one-child policy in China.
Melinda Gates is Catholic and has received criticism for leaders of Catholic groups over her support of the latest initiative. However, delegates at the summit stayed away from talking about the opposition from the Vatican to contraception.
U.S. Aid is the largest individual donor in the initiative with a pledge of $640 million over the next 12 months. That is an increase of 40% from when George W. Bush was president. Just sustaining the current amount of contraceptives used by 260 million women in the poorest 69 countries until 2020 will cost roughly $10 billion.