The She Decides initiative
It is every woman’s right to decide for herself whether she wants children and if so, when. She Decides is an international initiative set up to raise financial and political support for sexual and reproductive health worldwide. Donations benefit organisations that no longer receive US funding because they also give women information about and access to safe abortion. The affected organisations operate in developing countries, where they promote sexual and reproductive health and family planning.
Launched by development minister Lilianne Ploumen
Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, launched She Decides on 24 January 2017, urging everyone to support the initiative in whichever way they can. She Decides responds to the decision by the US president to reinstate the Mexico City policy, which blocks US government funding for organisations that give women access to, or information about, safe abortion.
The Dutch government is supporting She Decides with €29 million.
She Decides: goal
The goal of the initiative is to maintain essential services for sexual and reproductive health and family planning in developing countries, including:
- sex education
- birth control
- obstetric care
- HIV tests and treatment
- safe abortion.
Worldwide, She Decides appeals to:
- civil society organisations
- private charities and funds
Governments and organisations support She Decides
She Decides calls on governments and organisations to give their political and financial support to sexual and reproductive health and family planning worldwide. For instance, they can increase funding for organisations affected by the withdrawal of US grants.
She Decides also urges countries that have been hit hard by the US government’s decision to step up their implementation of policy on family planning and sexual and reproductive health, and set aside more money for this.
International conference in Brussels on 2 March 2017
On 2 March 2017, the government of Belgium hosted an international conference on She Decides in Brussels. Governments, civil society organisations, United Nations organisations and members of the business community came together to talk about the She Decides initiative, with a view to forming a broad coalition to promote sexual and reproductive health and family planning. The Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden were co-organisers of the conference.
At the conference, sexual health and family planning organisations talked about their work and women explained how important these organisations are for them.
Individuals can donate to She Decides too
Private individuals can also donate to She Decides via shedecides.nl. Donations can be made by credit card, PayPal or bank transfer. The Dutch government and the NGO Rutgers will make sure the donations reach the organisations concerned.
Impact of the Mexico City policy
The US president has decided to reinstate the Mexico City policy, which blocks US government funding for foreign organisations that give women access to, or information about, safe abortion – even if they only use other donors’ money for those specific purposes. It is expected that the measure will particularly affect organisations whose work covers all aspects of sexual and reproductive health and family planning.
The United States has been a major donor to family planning in developing countries, with an annual budget of around $ 600 million in recent years.