“As the debate over cutting funding for development assistance continues, we will be asked whether we believe that investing in developing countries and the women and girls who live there is worth it. I hope you will insist that it is,’ she wrote in a Sunday op-ed for “USA Today.”
Gates described how a recent trip to Indonesia reinforced the importance of foreign aid in improving societies, especially when that money goes toward contraceptives and family planning.
“Many people don’t realize the role contraceptives play in building a more stable and prosperous world,” Gates explained. “When I started looking at the data, I learned that contraceptives are actually one of the greatest anti-poverty innovations the world has ever seen.”
The White House budget proposal, released March 13 and titled “America First,” proposes steep cuts to foreign aid and the State Department in favor of building up the United States military, and refocuses economic assistance to countries that provide the greatest “strategic value” to the United States.
And on January 23, the White House reinstated a ban on providing federal funds to international groups that performed or assisted with abortions. Gates also urged readers to speak out against this policy.
“I hope you will speak up loud and clear for the power of contraceptives to transform nations and build a better world for all of us,” she wrote.
This article originally appeared on Fortune.com