As our fearless leaders duke it out over contraception, blustering on as though women’s needs were mere political ping-pong, the time is ripe for environmentalists to embrace new alliances centered on empowering women. To begin, consider four little-discussed facts:

1. Without contraception, the average woman would become pregnant roughly 12 to 15 times in her life.

2. Contraception has proven to save lives and improve health on such a scale that it ranks alongside seat belts and antibiotics as one of the greatest public-health achievements of the 20th century.

3. An estimated 215 million women around the world wish to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception.

4. More than 7 billion humans live on earth, and the largest generation ever is now coming of age.