She Keeps the Power to Decide

On March 2, governments around the world will convene in Brussels to ensure that women and girls have the power to decide their own futures. The She Decides International Conference, part of the She Decides Initiative, will address the decrease in US funding as a result of the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy, or “Global Gag Rule.”

This executive order robs women and girls of their agency and access to healthcare, especially family planning services. USAID would only have to cut $10 million of its $600 million yearly budget for family planning and reproductive health programs to see 30,000 more unsafe abortions per year. Therefore, governments across Europe have convened to make sure that women and girls around the world can keep the power to decide when and how many children to have, and do it safely.

Dutch Foreign Minister Lilianne Ploumen pioneered the She Decides initiative to increase financial and political support for family planning worldwide. The Dutch foreign ministry began with a donation of €10 million; Belgium and Denmark have since matched the Netherlands’ initial contribution. She Decides hopes to raise $600 million per year, mitigating the impact of the expected decrease in US funding.

More than forty countries will join the She Decides conference, supporting family planning across the world. Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Alexander de Croo, was the first to join the Dutch. Representatives from the private sector, donor organizations, foundations, civil society organizations and UN agencies will gather to kick-start the process of securing maximum political and financial support for women’s sexual and reproductive rights in the coming years.

As of 10am EST on March 2, €181 million has been pledged to the She Decides Initiative from the following countries and organizations:

  • Belgium                                 10 million euros
  • Canada                                  20 million euros
  • Denmark                               10 million euros
  • Finland                                  20 million euros
  • Netherland                           10 million euros
  • Norway                                 10 million euros
  • Sweden                                 21 million euros
  • Other countries                   10 million euros
  • BMGF                                    20 million euros
  • Anonymous US donor        50 million euros

This meeting is only the beginning. You can join the movement, too, and support PSI’s work helping women lead healthy lives and plan the families they desire. Donate to She Decides here or directly to PSI here.

To continue following this global fundraising initiative, don’t forget to stay tuned to #SheDecides on Twitter and Facebook.

Banner Photo: © Population Services International / Photo by: Manprit Shergil