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Sweden challenges Trump on abortion

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Sweden challenges Trump on abortion
Isabella Lövin and Donald Trump. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT & AP Photo/Evan Vucci
08:59 CET+01:00
Sweden is one of the countries that will hold a meeting in Brussels this spring to kick-start a funding campaign to challenge President Donald Trump's global anti-abortion 'gag rule'.

Eight countries have so far signed up to the European effort to promote and protect women's rights around the world in direct reaction to the US leader's decision to reinstate a ban on US funding to health groups around the world that provide information about abortion.

Sweden is one of the nations, alongside Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Canada and Cape Verde, that have joined the Netherlands' fundraising initiative 'She Decides'.

A conference will be held in Brussels on March 2nd, Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister – and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate – Isabella Lövin said on Thursday.

Representatives of governments in some 50 countries have been invited, as well as NGOs and private actors. The purpose is to fundraise for organizations that support women in developing countries on issues such as safe abortions and contraception – and to send a political message to the US.

"If you know that this is a very bad road to go down if you want to save women's lives, if you want women and families to have power over their own lives and that girls should be able to go to school and not get pregnant too early, then it is important that we stand up for the right to planned, safe and legal abortions. But also that we show how much money we are prepared to put up," Lövin told Swedish news agency TT.

Her colleagues in the Danish government announced this week that Sweden's neighbour was willing to commit 75 million kroner (95m kronor, $10.8m) to organizations that will be affected by Trump's move to reinstate what is formally known as the 'Mexico City Policy' but more popularly described as the global gag rule.

Lövin said she could not yet say for sure that their efforts would be able to fill the gap left by the US withdrawing its financial support. "We don't have a clear picture of that yet. But this conference will also invite philanthropists and private donors to contribute," she said.

The Swedish minister grabbed global headlines last week when she appeared to take a swipe at Trump by posting an image of her and her female colleagues parodying the image of the US president signing off on the anti-abortion order while surrounded by men.

Asked by The Local about the striking resemblance with the other image, Lövin said in a statement: "We are a feminist government, which shows in this photo. Ultimately it is up to the observer to interpret the photo."

READ ALSO: Did Sweden's deputy PM just troll Donald Trump?

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