Editor’s note. This appeared at the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues [PNCI] and is reposted with permission.
The pro-life action of President Trump by reissuing and expanding the Mexico City Policy (MCP) has resulted in non-US organizations that perform or promote abortion choosing to continue their abortion work and to lose US funding estimated to nearly $600 million in population control funding and much more in overall health funding.
The MCP rightly recognizes that an organization’s funds are fungible and that US contributions can enable the abortion work while the Helm’s Amendment prevents direct use of US assistance for performance or promotion of abortion as a method of family planning.
A campaign for donations to replace lost US monies is underway with a number of countries pledging financial support to “She Decides,” a fund established by the Netherlands to assist NGOs [Non-Governmental Organizations] most impacted by the life-affirming policy. At the top of the NGO list are abortion industry giants International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International (MSI). International Planned Parenthood Federation [IPPF] estimates it will lose $100 million in USAID funding [http://action.ippf.org].
The European Parliament (EP) expressed support for the abortion industry fundraising effort in its official recommendation to the Council on the EU [European Union] priorities for the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
The EP stated its opposition to the Mexico City Policy referring to it in the pro-abortion label of “the ‘global gag’ rule” which it considered to be a “direct attack on and a setback for gains made for women’s and girls’ rights.” The EP called on the EU and its Member States to counter the policy by “significantly increasing sexual and reproductive health and rights funding and launching an international fund to finance access to birth control and safe and legal abortion, using both national as well as EU development funding.”
On March 2, Belgium, will host an international “She Decides” conference in Brussels along with the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark, the four countries have committed a combined $32 million to replace US funds. Ministerial delegations from twenty countries are expected to participate.
Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lövin stated, “She Decides is taking a stand for women’s rights, in particular their obvious right to decide over their own bodies. We will mobilise political and financial support and show that there is a counterweight to the worrying developments we are seeing in the US and in other parts of the world.”
Officials expected to attend the conference and express support for the fundraising effort include European Commissioner for Development Neven Mimica, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore and Assistant Director General of the World Health Organisation Flavia Bustreo.
In response to the Brussels conference, Obianuju Ekeocha, President of Culture of Life Africa in a video entitled “The Dictatorship of the Wealthy Donor” addresses the delegates to the “She Decides” meeting and raises her concern that countries in the West are deciding what African women want. Ms. Ekeocha explains,
“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!”
According to Ms. Ekeocha, “This is the new colonialism. This is cultural imperialism. This is the dictatorship of the wealthy donor.”
The video includes a number of African women who “say No!” to abortion as Ekeocha addresses the governments that are funding the abortion industry declaring, “What WE are asking for is your support for safe delivery of African babies!”
Addressing the issue from the European context, Maria Hildingsson, Secretary General of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations (FAFCE), recalls that the EU has no competence to fund abortion services:
“As recalled in the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 10 December 2013 so called ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’, often interpreted as including access to abortion services, is not part of the EU competence.”
Additionally Hildingsson explains, “Indeed, the resolution states: ‘the formulation and implementation of policies on SRHR and on sexual education in schools is a competence of the Member States.’”
She expresses her shock at the participation of European Commissioner for Development Neven Mimica, stating, “The “She Decides” initiative is openly calling for funding of abortion services and it is astonishing that the European Commissioner in charge of development takes part in an event organised by such an initiative.
‘Both the European Commission and the European Council have clearly stated throughout the years that abortion is not part of EU’s competence. Hence, it is truly contradictory to see his name in the programme as it comes forth as an endorsement of the “She decides” campaign.
“Moreover, there were nearly 2 million EU citizens who signed the One of Us European Citizens’ Initiative which called on the European Commission to stop any funding of development aid that involves abortion. FAFCE calls on Mr. Mimica to refrain from supporting initiatives that fall outside the EU competence, lest the European Commission wants to be inconsistent with the treaties.
“There are many African and European voices asking for safe deliveries and support for maternal health, not for abortion – may their voices be heard across the globe!”