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Thursday, 16 July 2020

Brussels to host women's conference after Trump's anti-abortion move

AFP , Thursday 9 Feb 2017
esident Donald Trump speaks following a meeting with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich in the Oval Office of the White House on February 8, 2017 in Washington, DC (Photo: AFP)
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An international conference to raise money for charities providing access to safe abortion will be held in Brussels in March in response to President Donald Trump's gag on US funding, conference co-host Sweden said Thursday.

Development aid ministers from Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, as well as representatives from over 50 countries are expected to attend the "She Decides" conference on March 2.

In one of his first acts as president, Trump reintroduced the global gag rule, enacted by Ronald Reagan in 1984, which prohibits foreign charities from using US federal funding to provide abortion services, information, counselling or referrals.

"It's therefore important that we stay strong and explain that we will continue to stand for women's rights," Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin told AFP.

She said the international community "would not roll back several decades" on the right of women to decide over their bodies.

"Information about safe abortion has helped fewer girls to become pregnant and allowed them to go to school and get an education," she said.

Lovin, who also serves as environment and development aid minister, made headlines last week when she published a photograph of herself surrounded by seven female colleagues as she signed a climate bill, mocking a photo taken of Trump in the White House when he signed the abortion decree.

It is too early to say how much money the conference will raise, a Swedish government spokeswoman said.

But the Netherlands on January 28 launched the "She Decides" website to compensate for what it said was a 600 million euro ($640 million) annual funding gap caused by Trump's ban.

The nation kickstarted the fund with 10 million euros ($10.7 million).

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