Nordic nations rally to fund international abortion groups

Abortion | Money would replace U.S. support revoked under the Mexico City Policy
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 3/03/17, 11:17 am

Abortion advocates in northern Europe and Canada are raising funds to bail out international abortion groups after U.S. President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy.

Representatives from more than 50 countries met in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the “She Decides” initiative aimed at raising funds to compensate for the Reagan-era policy that bars USAID funding from going to non-governmental, abortion-providing organizations such as U.K.-based Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Organizers claim to have raised $190 million in pledges from several nations, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, as well as private donors such as Bill and Melinda Gates. 

Lilianne Ploumen, minister of foreign trade and development for the Netherlands, spearheaded the fundraising initiative and said she needed to raise $600 million to cover the international abortion industry’s expected losses. The International Planned Parenthood Federation said it has foregone $100 million in U.S. funding in order to continue providing and promoting abortion.

Stefano Gennarini, director of legal studies at the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), told me the Mexico City Policy is aimed directly at groups like Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. 

“Most of these other groups that provide family planning will adjust and will just do family planning without promoting abortion or performing abortion,” he said. 

Gennarini doesn’t expect the “She Decides” campaign to meet its goals, but the European Union also could inject funding. Several EU commissioners attended the fundraising event in Brussels, and the European Union has called the Mexico City Policy “a direct attack on and a setback for gains made for women’s and girls’ rights.” But it has not yet made any concrete funding promises. 

Joseph Meaney, Human Life International’s director of international outreach, told me the initiative seemed like a “Nordic club” set on promoting population control and abortion in Africa. 

Like Gennarini, Meaney doesn’t expect the fundraising campaign to meet the abortion industry’s goals. But he predicted international abortion groups likely won’t be hamstrung by the Mexico City Policy.

“Defunding Planned Parenthood internationally does not wreck their business model because they get enough funding from places other than the United States,” Meaney said, noting other nations including Canada, Britain, Scandinavia, and Japan also donate to the organization. 

Pro-life groups such as Culture of Life Africa denounced plans to compensate for the loss of U.S. funding.

“These western countries, who are coming together to raise funds for the so-called safe abortion initiative, have not even thought to ask the Africans what they want, or how they feel,” Obianuju Ekeocha, Culture of Life Africa’s founder, said in a video released this week. “This is the new colonialism. This is cultural imperialism. This is the dictatorship of the wealthy donor. What the Africans are asking for all over the continent is not just so-called safe abortion. What we are looking for, what we are asking for, is safe delivery of African babies.”

In many African nations, about 80 percent of people find abortion morally unacceptable, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center Study. 

Antonia Tully of the U.K.-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said countries could better help African nations by delivering “life-affirming solutions.”

“These cultures, which cherish life, resent being told how to plan their families,” she said.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha is a freelancer for WORLD Digital. She is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute, and she holds a bechelor degree in English from Hillsdale College and a multiple subject teaching credential from California State University. Samantha resides in Chico, Calif., with her husband and their two sons.

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