Brussels, 28 February 2017

Following the reinstatement of the so called Mexico City Policy by the United States, the funding of organisations providing abortion services abroad, such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) will be severly decreased. As a response four European Governments (Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden) host a conference in Brussels to raise money for abortions in developing countries on Thursday 2 March – the EU will be represented at the conference despite the fact that there is no EU competence on this matter. 

In a video message called “The Dictatorship of the Wealthy Donor” Obianuju Ekeocha, President of Culture of Life Africa, asks the European delegates to the “She Decides” Conference whether anyone bothered to ask the Africans for their opinion about funding abortion in their countries. “Many countries in the West, including Canada and the Netherlands have decided to come together to raise funds. Not funds for food in Africa. Not funds for water in Africa. Not funds that the Africans can use as they want. Instead, they are gathering together to raise millions of dollars that they are dedicating to the so called safe abortion. What is actually most disheartening is that these western countries have not even thought of asking the Africans what they want!”.

Mrs Ekeocha quotes research that shows that abortion is unacceptable to the vast majority in many African countries, under any circumstances. “This is the new colonialism. This is cultural imperialism. This is the dictatorship of the wealthy donor.” says Mrs Ekeocha. Addressing the Western nations she says: “What WE are asking for is your support for safe delivery of African babies!”

Among others, the European Commissioner for Development Neven Mimica, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore and the Assistant Director General of the World Health Organisation Flavia Bustreo will be present at the conference.

In the European context the event in Brussels raises a number of question marks. Maria Hildingsson, Secretary General of the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations (FAFCE) recalls that the EU has no competence to fund abortion services: “As recalled in the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 10 December 2013 so called ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’, often interpreted as including access to abortion services, is not part of the EU competence.” Indeed, the resolution states: “the formulation and implementation of policies on SRHR and on sexual education in schools is a competence of the Member States”

Mrs Hildingsson highlights that “the “She Decides” initiative is openly calling for funding of abortion services and it is astonishing that the European Commissioner in charge of development takes part in an event organised by such an initiative. Both the European Commission and the European Council have clearly stated throughout the years that abortion is not part of EU’s competence. Hence, it is truly contradictory to see his name in the programme as it comes forth as an endorsement of the “She decides” campaign. Moreover, there were nearly 2 million EU citizens who signed the One of Us European Citizens’ Initiative which called on the European Commission to stop any funding of development aid that involves abortion. FAFCE calls on Mr Mimica to refrain from supporting initiatives that fall outside the EU competence, lest the European Commission wants to be inconsistent with the treatiesThere are many African and European voices asking for safe deliveries and support for maternal health, not for abortion – may their voices be heard across the globe!”