Denmark urged to join Netherlands in countering Trump with abortion funds

Denmark’s development minister, Ulla Tørnæs, has expressed her disappointment in the Trump administration’s decision to reinstate a ban on US funding to health groups around the world that provide information about abortion.

Denmark urged to join Netherlands in countering Trump with abortion funds
Danish Development Minister Ulla Tørnæs visited a CARE programme in Niger this week. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Scanpix
Following Trump’s move to reinstate what is formally known as the ‘Mexico City Policy’ but more popularly described as the “global gag rule”, Tørnæs said that Denmark will not waver in its commitment to women’s rights and the belief that women should be allowed to choose what they do with their own bodies. 
“Denmark will continue to be a strong international voice for girls and women’s rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights,” she said in a written statement to news agency Ritzau. 
“Now more than ever before there is a need for a clear Danish voice, both in specific efforts in the countries and in international negotiations,” she added. 
The Danish government is being urged by some to join a Dutch effort to counter the US position by creating an international fund that will finance access to reproductive education, birth control and abortion in developing countries. 
“It is completely unacceptable that Trump is pushing this policy through. It will have very significant consequences for many women around the world. That’s why it is a good idea that the Netherlands wants to create a fund,” Holger Nielsen of the Socialist People’s Party said. 
The Dutch minister for foreign trade and development, Lilianne Ploumen, announced the Netherlands’ intention on Tuesday and said that she hoped other governments, private business and other actors will “compensate this financial setback as much as possible” according to a report in the Associated Press
Tørnæs told Ritzau that the government has not made any decisions about supporting the Dutch fund but pointed out that Denmark has increased funding to a number of global women’s groups. 
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 22 million women worldwide receive unsafe abortions every year, with the vast majority of those living in developing countries that would be affected by the Trump administration decision. 
Marie Stopes International, an NGO that provides contraception and access to safe abortions in 37 countries around the world, estimates that the loss of US funding would cause 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions and 21,700 maternal deaths during Trump’s first term.