Melinda Gates, a practicing Catholic, disagrees with the Vatican on the use of contraceptives, The Guardian reported.
"Of course I wrestled with this. As a Catholic I believe in this religion, there are amazing things about this religion, amazing moral teachings that I do believe in, but I also have to think about how we keep women alive," Gates told The Guardian. "I believe in not letting women die, I believe in not letting babies die, and to me that's more important than arguing about what method of contraception [is right]."
In an effort to increase availability and understanding of contraceptives, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with the government of the United Kingdom, is hosting this week the London Family Planning Summit.
The goal of the conference is to bring access to contraceptives to over 120 million women by 2020, according to Sky News.
Currently in London for the conference, Gates believes the availability of contraceptives needs to be "put back on the global health agenda," even if it means going against the Catholic church. Her work will focus on contraceptive availability for women in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia which has a large population of practicing Catholics.
"In my country where it's considered highly controversial, more controversial with the bishops than it is in Europe, 82 percent of Catholics believe contraception is morally acceptable. So: let the women in Africa decide. The choice is up to them."
Some Catholic bishops and priests have found a middle ground on the issue of contraception. Father Joe Maier is a Catholic priest who believes there is a fine line between murder and what he calls a "doubtful moral issue."
"On strictly moral issues, there can be no give-and-take. I'm with the Church on that. Murder is murder, and killing is wrong. I'm against abortion, too. I should be clear on that...Condoms are what I call a doubtful moral issue. Now, for me to tell people they must follow my religion and my religious beliefs on a doubtful moral issue that can put lives in danger -− does put lives in danger −- well, that is the height of arrogance."
However, for many this issue isn't really about health and free choice for women, but about controlling the world's population which, according to The Olympian, now stands at 7,025,367,636 and is growing by 80 million people annually.
Stephen Colbert, the host of fake news program The Colbert Report, told Gates on his show last week, "But now you’ve got a new charitable hobby horse you’re on, and it’s not necessarily saving people’s lives, so much as it’s stopping people’s lives from existing."
Gates' campaign begins with this summit and hopes to further raise funding in the U.S. and abroad to develop better methods of contraception to benefit women worldwide.
Click through the slideshow to see most and least Catholic states in the United States:
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