The Dutch government says a campaign to raise funds for access to birth control, abortion, and women’s sexual health programs in developing nations has so far raised more than 260 million euros ($305 million).
The “She Decides” fund was launched after President Trump cut funding for such services, in a move that could lead to more maternal deaths, unsafe abortions, and unexpected pregnancies. In January, Trump reintroduced the Mexico City Policy, a Reagan-era measure also known as the "global gag rule" that blocks U.S. funding for health providers around the globe who also provide abortion services. (The Hyde Amendment already prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions.)
“The president, it’s no secret, has made it very clear that he’s a pro-life president,” former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said days before Trump re-implemented the policy. “He wants to stand up for all Americans, including the unborn, and I think the reinstatement of this policy is not just something that echoes that value, but respects taxpayer funding as well.”
But then in May, Trump went on to expand the policy, so the existing foreign aid that could fall under the ban went up from $600 million to $8.8 billion.
"She Decides" is trying to fill the void in funds left by the Trump administration. Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, announced the latest total Friday, calling it “very good news for millions of women and girls in developing countries.”
A donor’s conference in Brussels in February raised just over 180 million euros ($211 million), and Ploumen says the money has continued rolling in.
"It means they’ll retain access to family planning facilities like sex education, contraception, safe abortion, and maternity care," she said. "So great strides have once again been made since the Brussels conference this spring, when countries and private organizations pledged around 180 million euros for the initiative."
The minister added that the pledges “show again that the international community will not abandon women in developing countries and will guarantee their basic right to family planning.”