Canada is considering contributing to a Dutch-led international fund to support abortion services in developing countries, set up in response to US President Donald Trump’s order to halt financing of NGOs that support the practice. A spokesman for International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told AFP the minister had spoken with her Dutch counterpart about the fund, and was considering donating an unspecified sum to it or a similar measure that would support “sexual reproductive rights, including abortion” abroad.
“Sexual health and reproductive rights will be at the heart of Canada’s new international assistance policy,” spokesman Louis Belanger said in an email. “We will continue to explore opportunities to work together to advance women’s empowerment by expanding access to sexual and reproductive health services including abortion,” he said.
Canada is set to unveil its new foreign aid strategy in the coming weeks. A decision on the fund would either be included or follow soon after that announcement. Trump on Monday signed a decree barring US government funding for foreign NGOs that support abortion. The restrictions prohibit them from also providing abortion information, counseling or referrals, or engaging in advocacy to promote abortion.
Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, said when she announced the new fund that the Netherlands must do everything in its power to offset the US ban, in order for “women can remain in control of their own bodies.”