Eight countries have joined a fundraising effort to counter President Donald Trump’s executive order last month that cuts off U.S. funding to global charities providing information about abortions.
Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin told Reuters on Thursday that a conference kicking off the fundraising initiative is scheduled for March 2 in Brussels, with the aim of helping nongovernmental organizations that operate family planning projects.
Belgium, Canada, Cape Verde, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, and Sweden have joined the effort launched by the Netherlands in January after Trump announced the order reinstating the rule, formally known as the Mexico City Policy and often referred to as the “global gag rule.”
The Netherlands warned the order could cause a shortfall of $600 million over the next four years.
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“[The gag order] could be so dangerous for so many women,” said Lovin, who gained attention this week for a photograph that showed her and seven other female officials signing an ambitious climate bill into law—which many saw as a pointed reference to images of Trump signing the anti-choice order while surrounded by male staffers.
“If women don’t have control over their bodies and their own fate it can have very serious consequences for global goals of gender rights and global poverty eradication,” Lovin said.
The global gag rule was first created in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan, and has been alternately lifted and reinstated by subsequent administrations, with Republicans keeping it in place and Democrats repealing it. Former President Barack Obama most recently did away with the ban in 2009.
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