On Tuesday, Donald Trump signed an executive order banning any global nongovernmental organization that receives family planning assistance from the United States from using any funds whatsoever for abortion services. Dutch Minister Lilianne Ploumen announced on Wednesday that The Netherlands is organizing a fund to offset the damage of Trump's global gag rule, The BBC reports.
Mrs. Ploumen told the BBC that the fund is a reflection of The Netherlands's commitment to "sexual and reproductive rights for women," and will help ensure that women "remain in control of their own bodies." She went on to condemn President Trump's order. "[The gag rule] makes it impossible for organizations not only to deliver the service of safe abortions, but also to give sexuality education, to promote contraceptives and make sure that people have access to contraceptives, so the impact is huge on the lives of women and children."
The fund has received a "very positive response" both within the Netherlands and abroad, Mrs. Ploumen said. "Other governments, foundations, but many, many citizens have approached me and said let us know how we can contribute."
According to a 2008 report from the World Health Organization, unsafe abortions accounted for 13% of all maternal deaths globally, with 21.6 million unsafe abortions taking place that same year. "It is likely that the numbers of unsafe abortions will continue to increase unless women’s access to safe abortion and contraception – and support to empower women (including their freedom to decide whether and when to have a child) – are put in place and further strengthened," the report summarized.