Dutch government planning international safe abortion fund

Campaigners say the Trump administration's plans "will be catastrophic for all communities"

Dutch government planning international safe abortion fund

Lilianne Ploumen. Picture by Achmad Ibrahim AP/Press Association Images

The Netherlands is planning to launch an international fund for safe abortion, after Donald Trump announced cuts to global funding of abortion services.

President Trump is reinstating the controversial 'Mexico City Policy', which had been rescinded under President Obama.

Announcing the reinstatement this week, the White House said: "Under this initiative, the United States will end the use of US taxpayer dollars to fund abortions overseas, along with coercive abortion and sterilization practices."

The move drew condemnation from many women's groups and campaigners, with some suggesting that it goes further than similar measures introduced by earlier administrations.

Latanya Mapp Frett - the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood - said: "The global gag rule as it existed under previous anti-women's health presidents was deeply harmful. But this action will be catastrophic for all communities, especially those relying on US funding to address HIV/AIDS and maternal health care, and the fight against Zika."

Marie Stopes International has estimated that the cuts (without alternative funding) could result in 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths between 2017 and 2020.

The group says it cannot agree to the new terms, and says "our organisation will be prohibited from receiving any new funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) so long as the Executive Order is in place".

Dutch government ministers were among the other critics of the Trump administration's move.

Officials in the Netherlands have now announced their intention to establish an international fund 'to give women in developing countries access to clear information, contraceptives and abortion'.

The country's development minister Lilianne Ploumen explained: "Banning abortion does not reduce the number of abortions. What it leads to is dangerous backroom procedures and higher maternal mortality.

"We have to make up as much as possible for this financial blow, with a broad-based fund that governments, companies and civil society organisations can donate to - so that women can continue to make their own decisions about their own bodies," she added.