Dutch commit $US10m in abortion funding-NewsCO

January 29, 2017

The Netherlands has committed $US10 million ($A13 million) for an initiative to replace funding for abortion services in developing countries that will be lost due to US President Donald Trump’s ban on financing foreign groups that provide abortions.

Trump reinstated a policy on Monday requiring overseas organisations that receive US family-planning funds to certify they do not perform abortions or provide abortion advice as a method of family planning.

The Netherlands, which has some of the world’s most liberal laws on reproductive health, said earlier this week the fund would seek donations from other governments, charities and companies as well as individuals.

Dutch officials estimate that the US ban, which was condemned by women’s rights and health campaigners, will cause a funding shortfall of $US600 million over the next four years. Campaigners say that will endanger women’s lives.

Liliane Ploumen, Dutch minister for international development cooperation, said she was confident after early discussions that fundraising would go a long way towards plugging the gap.

“Of course more money is needed,” Ploumen said. “According to the signals we have been getting I am confident we will go far.”

The Dutch have not named other possible donor countries, but Canada has said it is considering contributing.

On Friday, Ploumen, for whose Labour party women’s rights have long been a signature issue, launched a website, www.shedecides.eu, telling the public how they could contribute to the fund. Officials said the Dutch had been inundated with queries from individuals around the world asking how to help.

For Labour, the junior party in the governing coalition, the issue could help rally support among its urban, progressive voter base ahead of a March 15 election. Polls show such supporters have deserted the party in droves after years of painful austerity.

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