More than 50 countries met yesterday in Brussels to discuss funding abortion in developing countries, after the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy by President Trump led to the withdrawing of US funds from organisations that promote abortion.
The aim of “She Decides” is to support the “fundamental right [of women] to decide freely and for themselves whether, when and how many children they have”, by contributing “to ongoing initiatives that improve access to lifesaving contraceptives, family planning, sexuality education and/or safe abortion.” Early reports suggest that €181 million
In a press release yesterday, SPUC’s Antonia Tully rejected the premise of the organisation, saying: “Abortion is never safe for the baby. Moreover, it is very often not safe for the woman.
“Money being spent on promoting abortion is money not being spent on proper maternal care, or real healthcare.”
She added that this conference in no way lets women decide. “Has anyone bothered to ask African women if they want foreign governments funding abortion, which in many cases isn’t even legal, in their countries?
“This is a group of western European countries deciding that they know what is best for developing countries.”
Obianuju Ekeocha, President of Culture of Life Africa, also made this point, and in a video message asks the European delegates to the She Decides Conference whether anyone asked the Africans for their opinion about funding abortion in their countries.
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“Many countries in the West, including Canada and the Netherlands have decided to come together to raise funds. Not funds for food in Africa. Not funds for water in Africa. Not funds that the Africans can use as they want. Instead, they are gathering together to raise millions of dollars that they are dedicating to the so called safe abortion. What is actually most disheartening is that these western countries have not even thought of asking the Africans what they want!”
UK already a major donor of family planning
Today, Human Rights Watch called on the UK Government to join the initiative. The UK will send a government minister to the She Decides conference, but no commitment to give funding has been made. The Department for International Development said the UK was already the world’s second largest bilateral donor of family planning and that it had more than doubled its investment in the area since 2010.
“The UK is already a global leader on family planning, and sexual and reproductive rights” a spokesperson from the department said.