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A sign reading "Health Is A Right" held up at the Women's March in Los Angeles on January 21, 2017.

A protest sign at the Women's March in Los Angeles on January 21, 2017. (Photo: Larissa Puro/flickr/cc)

The Netherlands to Counter Trump's "Global Gag Rule" With International Abortion Fund

Fearing for women's health, Dutch government steps forward to ensure reproductive healthcare programs around the world remain funded

Nika Knight Beauchamp

The world has responded with fear and outrage to many of President Donald Trump's repressive actions since taking office, and the Dutch government immediately announced plans to counter one: the reinstatement of the "global gag rule" which cuts off U.S. funding to any NGO around the world that mentions abortions.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen announced the government's plan for a new international abortion fund on Tuesday.

"Banning abortions does not result in fewer abortions," said Ploumen, according to teleSUR. "It leads to more irresponsible practices in back rooms and more maternal deaths. We must not let this happen."

The Independent adds:

[Ploumen] told colleagues: "This has far-reaching consequences. 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."

[...]She also quoted figures from Marie Stopes International, one group which would lose funding under the initiative, suggesting up to 14 women a day could die as a result of the gag.

The gag rule, also known as the "Mexico City Policy," was instituted by President Ronald Reagan and kept in place by subsequent Republican presidents, while it was repealed by both Democrats, as Common Dreams noted.

Planned Parenthood also explained the dire results to come from Trump's executive order. "When in place, the global gag rule (also known as the Mexico City Policy) has had enormous and harmful impacts on women's lives," the group wrote:

  • In many communities, the most experienced providers of women's healthcare were cut off—sometimes, the only provider of any essential healthcare in their community and clinics were shut down.
  • It also stifled the free speech of doctors and of advocates in the country and weakened civil society.
  • Multiple studies have come out looking at the impact of the global gag rule and they have found that the primary impact is lost access to contraceptives, and in turn, increased rates of abortion—which are primarily unsafe.

"Ploumen wants to launch a new fund that could be supported by governments, businesses, and social organizations to 'compensate this financial setback as much as possible,'" reports the Associated Press.

Trump's reinstatement of the gag rule has been met with strong resistance stateside as well, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation Tuesday that would repeal the rule for good, as Common Dreams reported.

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