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Dutch government vows to protect women’s rights to abortions

The country’s trade minister is pushing for an international fund to combat this week’s withdrawal of US support

The Dutch government are tackling President Trump’s decision to reinstate the ‘Mexico City’ policy. Better known as the ‘global gag rule’, it enforces a U.S funding ban on worldwide groups that provide family planning education and information about abortions. An executive order calling for its return was signed by Trump yesterday (January 24).

The politician responsible for Holland’s proposal is Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen. She wants to “compensate this financial setback as much as possible” by setting up a new fund backed by social groups, governments and businesses.

“This has far-reaching consequences,” she said in a statement released on Tuesday. “First of all, for all those women who have to make, if they want to have a child, a choice, but also for their husbands and children and society as a whole. Banning abortion does not lead to fewer abortions. It leads to more irresponsible practices in back rooms and more maternal deaths.” 

Without funding, women in developing countries are more likely to have unsafe abortions. As a result, 68,000 women die from unsafe abortions every year. Research shows that in countries with less restrictive abortion laws there are less abortion-related deaths– less than one per 100,000 childbirths.

The global gag rule is a contentious issue in America. Since 1984 it has either been installed by Republican administrations or repealed by Democratic administrations. Former President Barack Obama revoked the rule back in 2009.