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Dutch resistance to Trump’s new gag rule

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Some props to the Netherlands. First, for this lovely message to our 45th POTUS. Second, and more significantly, for stepping up for women’s reproductive health.

You probably heard that Trump reinstated–and expanded–the global gag rule, threatening the work (and funding) for health assistance to women worldwide. As well as this plays to his niche audience at home, decades of data show that this policy usually raises abortion rates (and, of course, prevents many women from receiving other important care).

Lilianne Ploumen, the Netherlands’ international development minister, laid out plans for an alternative international fund to cover at least $600 million of the gap this will create. She explained her country’s support for women’s health to the BBC:

The Netherlands has been very active in promoting sexual and reproductive rights for women…

This executive order of President Trump makes it impossible for organisations not only to deliver the service of safe abortions, but also to give sexuality education, to promote contraceptives and make sure that people have access to contraceptives, so the impact is huge on the lives of women and children…

Other governments, foundations, but many, many citizens have approached me and said let us know how we can contribute.

In the Netherlands, I would suggest that there is firm support for the rights of women and girls – and there is a lot of support of promoting, but also protecting those rights.

The Netherlands is reaching out to create a wide network for this initiative: they’ve been working with other EU countries and Ploueman told the Guardian,

we’re also in touch with countries in South America and Africa, as well as the foundations. It’s important to have the broadest possible support for the fund.

It’s a promising initiative (though a stop-gap one) and a solid reminder that the world is full of international players dedicated to upholding a basic level of rights. Now, if only the Dutch could sound a bit less Trumpian on immigration

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