So far €181m has been donated to the She Decides campaign, launched by Dutch aid minister Lilianne Ploumen to boost access to contraception and abortion in developing countries.
The aim of the project is to mitigate the effect of US president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw $535m in funding for groups that assist with or advocate abortion around the world.
In total, 57 countries sent delegates to the project’s launch conference in Belgium on Thursday, which was organised by the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, the Dutch foreign ministry said.
Finland and Sweden have both donated €10m, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway a further €10m each. The Bill Gates Foundation has pumped €20m into the fund, but the biggest private donation came from an anonymous donor who handed over €50m.
‘Last year alone Dutch support for women’s organisations helped to prevent an estimated six million unwanted pregnancies and half a million abortions,’ Ploumen said at the launch of the initiative in February. ‘The decision by the United States threatens to undermine these results. We mustn’t let that happen.’
One of the organisations affected, Marie Stopes International, has predicted that Trump’s move will result in 6.5 million unwanted pregnancies, 2.2 million unsafe abortions and the deaths of 21,700 young mothers in the next four years.
The conference saw the launch of a Group of Friends initiative to give leadership to the organisation.
‘The Brussels conference is … a signal to the world that women and girls have the right to decide themselves whether or not to become pregnant, with whom and how many children they want,’ Ploumen said.
— Netherlands 🇳🇱 MFA (@DutchMFA) March 2, 2017