Every woman and young woman has the right to decide whether, with whom, and at what moment to have children. This is a fundamental right and essential to ending child marriage, expanding opportunities for young women and achieving gender equality.
On January 23rd, just two days after millions of women around the world took part in the world’s largest march for Women’s Rights, US President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City policy, also referred to as a global gag rule (GGR). This policy stops any US aid to any international organizations that provides abortion education or counselling or referrals or services. US funding to that organization will stop even if the organisation uses another source of funds for these services and even if legal in their country.
The #GGR will lead to an immediate loss of $575 million annually in funding for reproductive health and family planning programs and threatens up to $9.5 billion in global health assistance. The consequence is expected to lead to an increase of 4.8 million unintended pregnancies, 1.7 million unsafe abortions, and 20,000 maternal deaths annually. The impact will be felt almost exclusively among women in poorer countries.
Responding immediately, the H.E Minister Lilianna Ploumen of the Netherlands launched a global movement called #SheDecides. Today at the official launch hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Belgium H.E. Alexander De Croo, hundreds of organizations and over 50 governments gathered to make additional financial and action pledges to provide the knowledge, the opportunity and the services so that women and young women…so she can decide.