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article imageNetherlands launches fund after Trump cuts abortion funds

By AFP     Jan 28, 2017 in World

The Netherlands on Saturday launched a website to attract international donations to compensate for a decision by US President Donald Trump to end funding to foreign charities that support abortion, the foreign ministry said.

The Netherlands announced it was kick-starting the fund with 10 million euros ($10.7 million).

Trump's decree to ban such funding, signed on Monday, was one of the first acts of his presidency.

The day after that decision the Netherlands called for an international fund to support health centres offering abortion services in developing countries.

On its new website the Dutch foreign ministry said it had received "thousands of messages from over 150 countries in 23 languages".

The vast majority of the responses have been positive, "with many indicating a desire to donate to a fund," the statement added..

The new internet site, "shedecides.eu", offers information on the fund and how to make donations in euros or dollars.

According to the Dutch ministry, Trump's decision leaves a 600 million euro annual funding gap "that can only be filled by a strong international response from governments, aid organisations, businesses and individuals."

The statement continued: "We cannot let women and girls down. They should have the right to decide if they want to have children, when they want to have children, and with whom they want to have children.''

The Dutch government got the fund going with its pledge of 10 million euros.

"We obviously need far more money. Judging by the signals we have received so far, I trust we will come a long way towards safeguarding essential provisions not just for women, but for society at large," said Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation.

According to the Marie Stopes reproductive health charity, cited by Ploumen, the loss of US funding will result in 6.5 million unwanted pregnancies, 2.2 million unsafe abortions, and 21,700 unnecessary deaths of mothers over four years.

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