Initiative to neutralize Trump’s order on abortion aid raises $190 million

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A Dutch initiative to neutralize U.S. President Donald Trump’s order to cut funding for groups that perform or promote abortions in developing countries has raised more than $190 million (181 million euros), the Dutch government announced on Thursday.

The initiative, called She Decides, was launched in January after Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the so-called “Mexico City Policy” or the “Global Gag Rule”, which bans federal funds from going towards clinics or groups that provide abortion services or counseling in developing countries.

Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lilianne Ploumen announced at a conference in the Belgian capital of Brussels that her initiative had so far raised more than $190 million (181 million euros) from countries, private organizations, entrepreneurs, and the public.

“It is fantastic what countries, societal- and private organizations have done,” Ploumen said. “This gives us a lot of confidence that we can uphold the very important facilities for family planning for millions of women and girls in developing countries.”

The figure includes $22 million (€21 million) from Sweden, $14.9 million (€14.2 million) from Canada, $20 million (€19 million) from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, $10 million (€9.5 million) from English investor Chris Hohn, and an anonymous donation of $50 million (€47.5 million).

The minister emphasized that Thursday’s conference did not mark the end of her international initiative, which started with a $10.5 million (10 million euro) commitment from the Dutch government. It is estimated that Trump’s order will cut up to $600 million a year in funding for sex education, birth control, maternity care and safe abortions.

“It is an enormous figure,” Ploumen said. “But if I look at what we have reached after one month, we are already quite far. Not only thanks to the support of governments, just as much as a result of public campaigns. It is incredible to see that the preservation and strengthening of women’s rights receives so many responses from across the world.”

Representatives from 57 countries attended Thursday’s conference and some have yet to decide on the amount of funding they will provide.

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