The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) warmly welcomes the immediate response being made by European governments to protect and defend women’s rights following the reinstatement of the United States Global Gag Rule.
“I am proud to see European governments unambiguously taking the side of poor and vulnerable women. We know women take desperate measures when safe abortion is unavailable to them. 47,000 women and girls a year already die from unsafe abortion; by cutting family planning services and access to abortion, this number will increase. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of all the support that will be affected, from maternal health to prevention of sexual abuse to ending early and forced marriage and the list goes on. We applaud governments who are standing up for reproductive rights, alongside the millions of women we saw marching last weekend.” said Tewodros Melesse, Director General of IPPF.
Dutch International Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen announced the plan to set up an initiative to help bridge the gap of the policy.
Governments are rallying to help replace funding that will be lost for vital women’s health services and women’s rights. Since IPPF was founded in 1952, European nations have been among the strongest flag-bearers for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Inspired by the brave women in their own countries who fought for family planning, both state and society are committed to supporting women with choice and rights across the world.
“They say when times get rough, you know who your true friends are,” says Caroline Hickson, Regional Director of IPPF’s European Network. “Hearing Minister Ploumen’s announcement gave us such a boost, and today, we feel even more buoyed as other governments in Europe pledge support to global reproductive rights. We feel deeply reassured to have European countries walking alongside us and alongside women across the globe; together we can counter policies that turn the clock back on women’s rights. We look forward to working in continuous partnership not just to maintain what we do, but to do more and better”.
The Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy, denies US funding to organisations who provide any abortion related services, including counselling, even when such services are legal in a national context.
For IPPF, it means foregoing US$100,000,000 that would be directed to proven programmes that provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services for millions of women and girls who would otherwise go without vital services that save lives.
IPPF is the world’s largest women’s health network with members in 170 countries with over 45,000 service delivery points delivering over 300 services a minute. Individuals can donate to IPPF’s online appeal www.ippf.org/donate