The Danish Minister for Development Cooperation is facilitating action by a group of like-minded European countries, who are working for women's health and rights. This comes after the American announcement of the reinstation of a policy, which prohibits the granting of American foreign aid to international NGOs who discuss abortion as a family-planning option. A policy known in the public as the global gag rule.
"I am worried by the possible consequences, which the reinstation of the global gag rule can have for the world's poorest and most vulnerable women and girls. Against this backdrop, I have taken an initiative to reach out to other EU countries so that we can together better and stronger advocate women's sexual and reproductive health and rights," says the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs.
At a Danish initiative a joint letter has been drafted to the EU High Representative and the Commissioner for development, wherein the EU is encouraged to include a discussion of the situation in its current agenda and to find extra means to fill part of the gap, which organisations will experience, if they lose part of their funding. Denmark is currently working to get as many countries onboard as possible to sign. The Danish government wants to show the way for others to follow and donates 75 million Danish kroner to this effect.
“It is important that the organisations that work with family planning and sexual and reproductive rights are not forced to shut down their important work. Denmark cannot fill the gap alone. But Denmark will commit 75 million kroner, and I will - together with other like- minded European countries – with the letter encourage the EU Commission to increase their funding. In this way we can hopefully reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and deaths linked to pregnancy and birth," says Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs.
Denmark supports the new initiative ”She Decides”, which is a fundraising platform for contributions primarily from private means, funds and enterprises to enhance women and girls’ right to make their own choices.
Currently more than 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and effective family planning methods, for reasons ranging from lack of access to information or services to lack of support from their partners or communities. Every day, more than 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. These are numbers, which lead to reflection – and action by the Danish government and like-minded partners.