She Decides conference in Brussels presents governments united in support for family planning and reproductive health, in rejection of Trump reinstatement of the “Global Gag Rule”
She Decides conference, Brussels, March 2, 2017: Governments from around the world today reaffirmed – politically and financially – their commitment to the health of women living in the world’s poorest countries. At the “She Decides” conference hosted by the Belgian government in Brussels today, governments committed to closing the funding gap created by the Trump administration’s decision to reinstate and expand the so-called “Global Gag Rule” restricting family planning funding. Governments and civil society organisations pledged over €100 million to support family planning and health services in low- and middle-income countries.
Trump’s gag rule – “catastrophic for women’s health”
Speaking at the She Decides conference, Renate Bähr, Executive Director of Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), said: “It is great that the politicians that attended the conference today have made a clear and unequivocal signal about the importance of protecting the lives of girls and young women around the world. The decision of the Trump administration to reinstate and expand the global gag rule is expected to have catastrophic consequences for the world’s most vulnerable women.
“Cutting off access to life-saving services and information will mean more unintended pregnancies, more abortions and more maternal deaths. We need governments – like those today – to stand up and attempt to bridge the yawning funding gap. That is why we are calling on the German government to join this movement and increase its funding for sexual and reproductive health.”
The reinstatement and expansion of the global gag rule (known as the Mexico Policy) was ordered by President Trump in January. It means that any organisation involved in family planning that uses its own money to provide, or even discuss, abortion services, will lose any US development funding it receives – even if the activities for which it receives US funding have nothing to do with pregnancy, family planning or abortions.
She Decides – Europe responds
The She Decides initiative was launched by the Dutch government, and the conference in Brussels today was attended by representatives of governments, international organisations, private foundations, and non-governmental organisations from around 50 countries participated in the conference. It was organised by the development ministries of Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.
Communications Officer, Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW)
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Notes to the Editor
- Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW) focuses on the needs and potential of the largest youth generation in history. We are committed to creating demand for and access to health information, services and supplies, and to securing their right for a brighter future. We achieve this by engaging in gender sensitive advocacy, capacity development, and family planning initiatives. With our headquarters Germany, DSW maintains offices in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as liaison offices in Berlin and Brussels.