International Initiative Raises $300 Million For Women’s Health

"The international community is not abandoning women in developing countries to their fate."

A global campaign has raised $300 million for charities that sponsor women's and sexual health initiatives in developing countries, it was announced Friday. The "She Decides" fund was launched in January by ministers of the Dutch government after Donald Trump reinstated the "global gag rule" that bans U.S. aid from being sent to organizations that provide abortion services or give women information about abortions.

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The campaign has received donations from Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation in addition to contributions from citizens around the world. The goal of the fund is to cover the gap in funding left after the institution of the global gag order, also known as the Mexico City Policy

"It shows once again that the international community is not abandoning women in developing countries to their fate, but seeks to guarantee their fundamental right to family planning," Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, said in an official statement. 

In an interview with the New York Times in February, Ploumen explained why the reversal in policy is especially devastating. When these organizations lose funding, they are not just losing funding for programs that provide education on abortions, but are losing funding for all of their programming. This results in a significant decrease in access to information about birth control and contraceptives, and in the past, has led to an increase in abortion rates in the developing world. 

"I was very disappointed and a little bit shocked because, you know, this is 2017," Ploumen said of the reinstatement of the gag order. "You would have expected that in 2017 the rights of women and girls to be the masters of their own bodies and their own sexual lives would be something matter-of-fact."

(H/T NPR)


Cover image via Rena Schild / Shutterstock.

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