THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The Dutch government announced Saturday it’s putting 10 million euros ($10.7 million) into an international fund it has launched to finance access to birth control, abortion and sex education for women in developing nations after President Donald Trump cut U.S. funding for such services.
Lilianne Ploumen, the minister for foreign trade and development co-operation, said she was making the initial contribution and launched the fund – “She Decides – Global Fundraising Initiative” – with a website .
Ploumen said she has received thousands of reactions – the vast majority of them positive – since announcing the fund Tuesday. That move came a day after Trump signed an executive memorandum reinstituting a ban on U.S. funding to international groups that perform abortions or even provide information about abortions.
The ban has been instituted by U.S. Republican administrations and rescinded by Democratic ones since 1984. President Barack Obama last lifted it in 2009.
Ploumen said an international sexual health and rights organization based in the Netherlands, the Rutgers Foundation, will manage the new fund. She said the withdrawal of U.S. money will create a huge funding gap that can only be filled through a robust reaction by governments, aid organizations and private donors.
The fund will “prevent women and girls being abandoned,” she added. “Because they, too, must be able to decide for themselves if they want children, with whom and when.”
Ploumen said much more money is needed but “I’m confident we can go a long way so that essential services, not just for women, but for the whole of society, can be maintained.”