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26th Jan 2020

Dutch plan global fund for safe abortion

  • Dutch minister Ploumen (c) hopes a global fund for safe abortion can compensate the $600 million gap left by Trump (Photo: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

A Dutch idea to set up an international fund for safe abortion has been welcomed by other countries, Dutch minister for development cooperation Lilianne Ploumen said on Wednesday (25 January).

She proposed the fund to fill the gap left by a decision by US president Donald Trump, who on Monday signed a decree banning US aid money going to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provide or inform about abortions.

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  • The right to abortion was an important theme at the Women's March in Washington DC, a day after Trump's inauguration (Photo: Liz Lemon)

On Wednesday, her Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo said he supported the proposal to set up a replacement fund.

Ploumen hopes that other countries, funds, and civil society organisations, can cough up the €600 million which the Trump administration will now not be spending over the next four years.

“We are still looking into our own budget to see how much we can contribute,” said Ploumen.

She noted that the Netherlands is already a significant contributor to promoting family planning in developing countries, but said that she “obviously” cannot ask others to contribute if the Netherlands does not chip in.

The Trump order to ban funding to NGOs that perform or promote abortions is a reinstatement of a rule that Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan have put in place, only to have it rescinded by their Democrat successors.

“Banning abortion does not reduce the number of abortions. What it leads to is dangerous backroom procedures and higher maternal mortality,” said Ploumen in a press release earlier this week.

The proposal for a fund is the first concrete idea emerging from Europe to “compensate” for a policy decision made by Trump, she said.

However, counter-initiatives will not be possible for many issues.

On Wednesday, the head of the European Environment Agency, Hans Bruyninckx, said it was “inconceivable” that the EU would cut greenhouse gases to pick up any slack from the United States.

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