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She Decides: A glimmer of hope for women and girls

Tuesday 21 February 2017 Melissa Ezechukwu Contraception, Safe abortion and post abortion care, Policy and advocacy

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The devastating impact of the newly expanded Mexico City Policy on women’s access to contraception and safe abortion continues to make headlines around the world.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, USAID’s yearly budget of over $600 million for family planning and reproductive health programmes prevents around two million unsafe abortions and over 11,000 deaths, and its loss will hit women and girls in developing countries hard.

Using MSI estimates of the consequences for our programmes alone, the Washington Post describes how the executive order takes a giant leap beyond previous GOP incarnations: with not just family planning funds that are at risk, but all global health assistance, including funds to combat tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. This increases the amount of aid at stake more than 15-fold — from about $575 million per year to $9.5 billion.

But amidst the gloom, a glimmer of hope has appeared with the creation of a new international abortion fund by the Dutch government.

Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for Foreign Trade and Development Co-operation, decided to launch She Decides – a global fundraising initiative, to ensure that millions of women and girls are in charge of their own bodies. The initiative invites governments, private individuals and corporations to make financial contributions, which will be made available to organisations affected by the Mexico City Policy and help minimise the loss of USAID funding on reproductive health initiatives in developing countries. Canada, Cape Verde and several governments in Europe have already lent their support, and on Monday 20th February Norway pledged $10 million to the fund.

We are grateful to the Dutch Government and others who are leading the charge to fill the funding gap, as well as the many, many individuals stepping forward to donate their own funds to help us continue delivering life-saving services for women.​

Click here to make a contribution to She Decides

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