The USA has, under the government of President Donald Trump, withdrawn from funding programs that support and promote women’s health and access to legal abortion in developing countries. In light of the current climate within many US states regarding abortion, this comes as no surprise. While we continue to be dismayed at the current situation in the USA when it comes to women’s rights, women’s health, and legal abortion, there is a reason for hope coming from another part of North America.

Canada Leading the Way for Women’s Health

Canada has further cemented its reputation as a progressive twenty-first century nation by stepping up to close the gap created by the USA when it comes to women’s rights worldwide. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement at a global women’s conference in Vancouver in early June 2019 that Canada will, from 2023, increase funding to $1.4 billion Canadian (which equates to approximately $1 billion USD) for the protection of women’s sexual and reproductive health rights in the developing world.

According to Prime Minister Trudeau, this increased funding will empower eighteen million women in developing countries by 2030, giving much-needed resources for sexuality education, maternal and newborn health, contraception, legal abortion, and women’s sexual and reproductive health rights.

Trudeau’s Liberal government is committed to its “feminist foreign policy”, making the rights of women and girls a fundamental aspect of Canada’s overseas engagement and commitment, shining a light on these important issues and leading by example.

According to a statement released by Prime Minister Trudeau’s office, more than twenty-five million unsafe abortions are carried out annually worldwide due to both restricted access to safe medical treatments, as well as the stigma attached to ending a pregnancy. The increased funding commitment by Canada seeks to help affect positive change.

The Consequences of the US Position

It is interesting to note the contrast between Canada of 2019 under Prime Minister Trudeau and the United States of 2019 under President Trump –a time when relations between these two traditional allies are somewhat challenged.

Soon after being inaugurated in January 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order denying US assistance to foreign-based organisations that promote, offer information on, or perform abortions. This essentially means that not only is USD $600 million in overseas family planning funds at risk, but also US aid for global health worth USD $8.8 billion. This means that non-US health providers that treat everything from HIV to malaria, and who seek US funding support, will be prohibited from performing any role that promotes or offers abortion services.

During a June 2019 meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and US Vice President Mike Pence, Trudeau went so far as to openly express his concerns over the resolutions of some US states to politicise women’s health and to block access to legal abortion.

While the United States has much of the world aghast at its attitude to women’s health rights, there is admiration worldwide for Canada’s stance on women’s rights and its funding commitment, from foreign governments, nongovernment organisations and development groups. The investment Canada is making in women and girls in developing nations will improve health, and positively impact individuals, communities, and countries as a whole. It will also save lives.

Gynaecology Centres Australia

Gynaecology Centres Australia provides a confidential, caring service for women in Australia for abortion and for managing miscarriages. We also provide comprehensive services for women’s health as well as male vasectomy. We have five different clinic locations across NSW. You can find a GCA clinic near you via our Contact Us page on our website.