March 6th, 2017.
Population Institute Canada applauds the historic decision by the Canadian government to pledge up to $20 million to fund sexual health and abortion-related projects as part of the “She Decides” coalition, launched five weeks ago by Dutch Foreign Minister Liliane Ploumen.
Canada’s contribution will help counter the blow to global contraceptive and reproductive service providers, who will lose access to approximately $600 million worth of funding over the next four years due to President Trump’s decision to re-instate the global “gag rule.”
So far, Canada and other countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, have raised about $190 million, an amount Ms. Bibeau suggested could rise as more governments make significant contributions.
Alternative funding to make up for the loss is crucial, given that the U.S. order effectively means that “NGOs forfeit all US aid if they so much as tell a woman abortion is a legal option in her country, refer her to another provider or advocate for abortion rights with their own alternative resources.”
Marie Stopes International (MSI), who will receive $4 million of Canada’s $20 million committment, projects that by the end of the Trump administration’s first term—and without alternative funding—the ban will, in effect, create the problems the U.S. administration purportedly wants to curb: causing 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths.
In Brussels, where the funding was announced, MSI noted that in Pakistan, the world’s 6th most populous country, only one-third of the women of reproductive age are using contraceptives and lack of access is a huge problem.
As Minister Bibeau noted in her announcement on Canada’s contribution, “Sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. All women have the right to choose whether and when they want to have children, and how many. The empowerment of women and girls everywhere in the world begins with their right to be in control of their bodies.”
For more information about Canada’s announcement, see the government’s news release, https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2017/03/minister_bibeau_championssexualandreproductivehealthandrights.html
For a list of population and reproductive rights organizations who work in the area of family planning, see our website page, https://populationinstitutecanada.ca/what-others-are-doing/To petition the Canadian government to make family planning a substantial part of our foreign aid programs, consider signing our Change.org petition, and sharing on social media.
President, Population Institute Canada