Suzanne Ehlers, CEO of Population Action International explained how the GGR denies US family planning funding for foreign organisations if they use other, non-US funds to do any work related to abortion. Ehlers also pointed out how the Trump administration has dramatically expanded the GGR from family planning to all global health expenditures. Because of this, the GGR might now impact up to $9 billion of US aid. This means that e.g. programmes with integrated services, such as those combining family planning with HIV prevention and care or with climate migitation will be at risk. These are precisely the type of innovative and cost-saving programmes the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has invested in, IPPF EN Director Caroline Hickson explained. IPPF stands to lose $100 million of USAID support because it refuses to sign the GGR.
Anti-choice’s political leverage
Anti-choice movements have been important in Trump’s reinstatement and expansion of the GGR. Neil Datta and Dr. David Paternotte testified of the increased professionalism in the organisation and funding of anti-choice movements. The anti-choice’s leverage over governmental policies such as the GGR means a radical drop in funding for many SRHR organisations with disastrous effects for women and girls in the South. Thus we need to increase our understanding of these movements and their initiatives.
“We will do this together”
So how can we address the GGR and prevent further infringement of women’s rights and their access to family planning? “Primarily, we need to understand this is not just a government affair”, Minister Alexander De Croo stated. “Civil society is to play an important role too. We will do this together.” Parliamentarians are an important voice in this debate too. “We need the voice of the people, not only represented in national parliaments but in the European Parliament as well”, Minister Liliane Ploumen stated. Terry Reintke, MEP for the Greens echoed her call and vowed to push the European Commission to respect its commitments with regard to sexual and reproductive health and rights. "Unless we give women their sexual and reproductive rights, none of our sustainable development goals will be reached. FULL STOP," she stated. Both Ministers confirmed how crucial universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights to eradicate poverty is.
Call on parliamentarians worldwide
Hon. Marie Rose Nguini Effa, MP of Cameroon and president of the African Forum for Population and Development closed the meeting with a powerful message: “I want us all to unite, sign resolutions and laws and share best practices and ideas amongst our countries, because we are the voice of the voiceless.” ‘She Decides’ will provide a strong flag to rally for the cause of women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights in the months and years to come.