Dr. Tom Price, M.D., a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Georgia and an orthopedic surgeon, was confirmed as secretary of health and human services on Friday.
Price who has been pegged for the position by President Donald Trump since late last November has been a vocal advocate of repealing the Affordable Care Act, including its birth control coverage mandate—which isn’t exactly reassuring for women who rely on the provision to cover their contraception.
Luckily, few key players outside of politics are capitalizing on their powerful platforms to fight for women’s access to contraceptives. One of such advocate is Melinda Gates, who recently reiterated a pledge that would pave the way for women to easily access birth control.
Gates wrote in an op-ed for National Geographic last week, that by 2020, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will help 120 million more women access contraceptives.
Gates’ pledge is even more important today than when she first made it in 2012. There’s been a surge of women seeking alternative ways to obtain birth control as Republicans begin work to repeal the ACA.
There’s also a growing fear they’ll no longer be able to afford their desired method, such as IUDs.
It’s unlikely that Price will challenge women’s ability to access birth control. Besides his record of opposing the ACA, Gates has also denied that some women aren’t able to afford contraceptives without it.
Price also introduced a budget reconciliation bill that would have prevented Planned Parenthood from receiving federal money for family planning last year.
But Gates’ op-ed recounts the stories of many women who have suffered without access to birth control. She stood her ground that easy access to birth control contributes to a better future not just for women, but for the world.
“I’ve heard from women all over the world about how important contraceptives are to their ability to take charge of their futures,” she wrote. “When women are able to plan their pregnancies around their goals for themselves and their families, they are also better able to finish their education, earn an income, and fully participate in their communities.”
Gates said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is charged with upholding this birth control pledge, is behind in its objective to help 120 million women by 2020, but she’s not giving up. In fact, she’s only going to work harder.
“Unless we begin making up for lost time, we will miss this chance to make this a turning point for women around the world,” Gates wrote.