President Donald Trump, a swollen bag of spoiled milk, signed an executive order on Monday that reinstated the Global Gag Rule, which bans non-governmental organizations from receiving foreign aid or federal funding if they perform abortion services or even give out information about abortion services. He cannot yet gag the entire globe, however.
The Guardian reports that the Dutch international development minister, Lilianne Ploumen, announced on Wednesday that the Netherlands’ have instigated a plan supported by 20 countries to set up an international safe abortion fund. Trump’s executive order has created a funding gap of about $600 million for hundreds of charities around the world.
“We’re in talks with 15 to 20 countries and we’ve also spoken to foundations,” Ploumen told the Guardian. “As well as contacting a number of European countries that we work with on these issues, we’re also in touch with countries in South America and Africa, as well as the foundations. It’s important to have the broadest possible support for the fund.”
Ploumen declined to reveal which countries have promised support so far, but said the plan was for funding to go to established programs run by charities like the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International. She added, “These are successful and effective programs: direct support, distributing condoms, making sure women are accompanied at the birth, and making sure abortion is safe if they have no other choice.”
The BBC reports that Ploumen seems aware of the challenges of covering such an enormous amount of funding alone, telling them, “Obviously, the Netherlands cannot do this by ourselves, we need support... Other governments, foundations, but many, many citizens have approached me and said, ‘Let us know how we can contribute.’”
The Dutch government’s decision to create a program that directly opposes orders from the United States may create tensions, but Ploumen asserts she is pro-choice, and must do what she thinks is right. She told the Guardian, “We respect the decisions of a democratically elected president, but we’re democratically elected too and we can make different decisions.”