A practicing Catholic American, humanitarian Melinda Gates disagrees with the Vatican on the use of contraceptives and has vowed to devote the rest of her life to bettering the access to contraception across the world.
Gates predicted that women in Africa and Asia would soon be "voting with their feet", as women in the west have done, and would ignore the church's ban on artificial birth control.
AdvertisementGates, who was a speaker at the London Summit on Family Planning organised by her foundation in union with the UK Government and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said that since the announcement of her new direction she has received thousands of messages in support from Catholic women, including nuns.
"A church is made up of its members, and one of the things this campaign might do is help women speak out. I've had thousands of women come on to websites and say" 'I'm a Catholic, but I believe in contraception," The Guardian quoted Melinda, as saying.
"In my country 82% of Catholics say contraception is morally acceptable. So let the women in Africa decide. The choice is up to them," she said.
Gates said the moment had now come to push contraception back to the top of the development agenda.