Anti-‘global gag rule’ fund reaches $190M
Monday, March 6, 2017
A fund to counter the effects of the U.S. government’s controversial “global gag rule” has raised around $190 million, it was announced at a conference in Brussels today, as development leaders said it would not be possible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without access to family planning services.
Countries including Sweden, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Australia, Norway and Luxembourg pledged more than $110 million between them to the “She Decides” fund for family planning, some of which had been previously announced. An additional $20 million was committed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; as well as $50 million from an anonymous private donor; and a personal donation of $10 million from Sir Christopher Hohn, billionaire founder of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
The fund was launched by the Netherlands’ Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen in late January after U.S. President Donald Trump issued a memorandum reinstating the “global gag rule,” which has been repeatedly removed and reinstated by successive Democratic and Republican presidents since the 1980s. Also known as the Mexico City Policy, it prevents non-U.S. NGOs that provide services or information relating to abortion, including counseling and legal advice, from receiving U.S. government funding for any of their activities.