Since Donald Trump reinstated a revised version of the so-called “global gag rule,” NGOs that provide abortions or abortion referrals to women are now prohibited from receiving federal funding, regardless of whether they use private funds for these services. Although the rule is designed specifically to target organizations that provide abortions, it could also block funding that would otherwise be used to support H.I.V prevention programs, provide contraceptive access and more.
That’s why a number of countries including Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Canada have pledged support to an international effort to make up for the $600 million funding gap that the global gag rule is expected to create over the next four years. Earlier this week, Norwegian Prime Minster Erna Solberg announced that the country will increase its funding for family planning and safe abortion by $10 million this year.
“At a time when this agenda has come under pressure, a joint effort is particularly important,” said Solberg in a statement.
Meanwhile, the government of the Netherlands has announced that it will set up an overseas abortion fund that businesses, social organizations and other foreign governments can all contribute to. Dutch officials hope that the fund can be used to “compensate this financial setback as much as possible.”
It will take an international effort to ensure that all women are able to access quality reproductive healthcare, and this coalition has the potential to make a hugely positive impact in the regions that need it most. In this regard, the Trump Administration’s global gag rule has inadvertently united other countries in support of women’s healthcare organizations. Hopefully before too long our own federal government will reverse its course and abandon the deeply misguided global gag rule as well.