Melinda Gates return recently from Indonesia -- a trip planned long before President Donald Trump reinstituted the Mexico City rule, aka the global gag rule, in a significantly harsher updated version.
Melinda and Bill Gates have one of the world's best brain banks when the topic is transforming economies -- not only with lip service words about empowering women -- but also with giving them access to contraceptives. As Melinda explains in her USA op ed, contraceptives are one of the greatest anti-poverty innovations the world has ever seen.
Fifty years ago, fewer than one in 10 Indonesian women used birth control. The average Indonesian woman had five or six children and the entire family lived in extreme poverty.
When offered support from donor nations like the US, Indonesia implemented a hugely successful family planning initiative in give decades. Today most women in Indonesia have two or three children, who stay longer in school. More women work outside the home and not only did family incomes rise, but so did the entire country's.
Today, Indonesia has the globe's eight largest economies and family planning is a key reason. But now access to contraception is perilous across the world, because of proposed cuts by the Trump administration to family planning.
Read AOC's Women News in-depth from (a furious) Melinda Gates about the impact of political budget cuts from the Trump administration. We MUST view these cuts through a dual lens. Yes, they are part of a massive attempt to cut everything from arts funding in America to school lunches. But the cuts to women's health are also politically motivated to curb women's empowerment and advancement worldwide.
The majority of members of the Trump administration say they believe in women's empowerment while taking every move to cut of funding to clinics who even utter the word 'abortion' not even offer them in their facilities. By greatly expanding the language in the Mexico City rule, the Trump administration is cutting off any access to contraceptives at the same time. His ultra right-wing administration has advanced this agenda around women for years.