Sweden to Pressure NGOs Over Abortion Policy


Sweden has pledged to stop giving aid to any organisations that agree to abide by the pro-life Mexico City Policy (MCP) which was reinstated by Donald Trump.


The MCP requires that non-government organisations “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations” if they want to apply for US government funds.


The US funding ban was first created in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. The policy was rescinded by the Clinton administration, before being reinstated under President George W Bush. In 2009, Barack Obama again ended it, only for Mr Trump to reintroduce the policy within days of taking office in January.


Now, Sweden’s development aid agency, Sida, has announced it will freeze aid to organisations that comply with the US policy, news website The Local, reported.


“We have to defend [sexual and reproductive health and rights] and the right to abortion for girls and women in poor countries and when the United States implements a policy that will hit the poorest countries and the most vulnerable groups – women and girls in need of care, Sida has to make sure that Swedish aid continues to go to those activities we have agreed on,” said Sida’s director general, Carin Jämtin.


Sida said it was unclear at this stage how many organisations would be affected by the change.


“We are now starting a review of which of our organisations receive support and where they stand in relation to the Mexico City Policy”, a spokesman added. “Only then will we know. The only ones we know of today that have such support and have agreed to the MCP is Save the Children.”


The measure is likely to force charities and non-governmental organisations to choose between US and Swedish funding.


Sweden is also increasing its funding of organisations involved in promoting sexual heath, contraception, abortion and maternity care by a further 170 million krona (€17.8m).

The Independent. July 12.

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