The Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation has launched an initiative to raise funds to counter the possible effects of Trumps’ signing of the so-called Mexico City Policy (also called ‘global gag rule’), which prohibits US government funding of organizations that provide access to abortions, or information about it. The initiative is called She Decides, and aims to give girls and women access to family planning services.
The cynic could say that this is not the first time that a Republican President has reinstated the global gag rule, so why suddenly the attention? What did international parties do when Bush took office? (answer: I don’t know). While there may be a point to this comment, there is the more important point that if this were the only aggressive measure Trump had taken, there may not have been a need to #resist it; but as part of the broader scheme of things, it is good to react.
The super-cynic may add that surely a Minister from the Dutch Labour Party will be eager, 6 weeks before the Dutch elections, to try to do something about the very bad results that have been predicted for the Dutch Labour Party. I’ve been rather cynical about several of the policies that the Dutch Labour Party initiated and/or supported in the last 4 years, but I think this is not the right time and moment to be the cynical on this front. Rather, this is a very good initiative to show what can constructively be done to counter Trumps’ attempt to make girls’ and women’s lives considerably harder.
Even before Trump’s harmful measure, the UN reported the statistic that’s about 225 million women do not want to become pregnant yet do not have access to the contraceptives that they need. Without countermeasures to the reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, that number will increase. By making sure that women have access to effective contraceptives of the type that they prefer, women can avoid unwanted pregnancies which make their lives unnecessarily harder, which negatively impact on children in those households, and which contribute to an even larger global population size.
You don’t need to feel indifferent about abortions to think this is a good initiative. You just need to face the fact that many unwanted pregnancies result in unsafe abortions, which lead to many dead mothers – a catastrophe not only for those women whose death could have been avoided, but also for the children they leave behind. Free, safe contraceptives of women’s own choice lead to fewer abortions; free, safe abortions lead to fewer unsafe, deadly abortions.
She Decides calls upon individual persons and organisations to support this initiative (information here). As soon as I’m back home from my trip to London, I will make a donation.