By Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Jan. 28, 2016 | Medium
Four years ago, I stood with an international alliance of family planning advocates to set an ambitious goal for the world. We pledged that by 2020, 120 million more women and girls would have access to the family planning services they want and need to live their healthiest, best lives.
The good news is that, thanks to our collective efforts, over the last four years, tens of millions of unintended pregnancies have been avoided.
The bad news is that if we continue at current rates, we will fall short of our goal, breaking our promise to millions of women.
The consequences of failure are huge?—?for women, for their children, for everyone. An unplanned pregnancy often means that girls are forced to drop out of school and that women can no longer work outside the home, both of which contribute to keeping families and communities trapped in cycles of poverty. Unplanned pregnancies also carry significant health risks to both women and their children.
These 120 million women and girls are counting on us to keep our promise. We need to get back on track now.