Dutch ‘safe abortion fund’ to fill gaps after Trump signs Mexico City...

Dutch ‘safe abortion fund’ to fill gaps after Trump signs Mexico City policy

By Luke Vargas   
Published
President Trump signs an executive order reimplementing the Mexico City policy. January 23, 2017. White House photo.

UNITED NATIONS – The Dutch Foreign Ministry will establish an “international fund for safe abortion” following a decision by President Donald Trump to cut U.S. funding for international NGO’s that promote abortion.

“This decision has far-reaching consequences, above all for the women it affects, who should be able to decide for themselves if they want a child, but also for their husbands and children and for society as a whole,” Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen said Wednesday.

A press statement issued by the Dutch government said the international fund would “give women in developing countries access to clear information, contraceptives and abortion” and would be designed to receive contributions from governments, businesses and NGO’s.

Signed into law by President Trump via executive order on Monday, the so-called Mexico City policy was originally designed to prevent U.S. taxpayers dollars earmarked for family planning services from being used to provide abortions. But Trump’s executive order dramatically expanded the policy’s reach by “[extending] the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.”

The phrase “global health assistance” is the important one.

Previous versions of the Mexico City policy applied only to the U.S.’ roughly $600 million in annual yearly support for family planning programs, while Trump’s order extends it to the more than $9 billion in yearly funding for global public health programs.

Dutch Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen. File photo.
Dutch Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen. File photo.

That means groups working on such diverse public health topics as HIV/AIDS, children’s health or malaria could be denied funding if they so much as mention the option of abortion.

“We have to make up as much as possible for this financial blow,” Ploumen said, “so that women can continue to make their own decisions about their own bodies.”

According to a report by The Guardian, Ploumen said some 15-20 countries already had expressed interest in contributing to the safe abortion fund.

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