choice stands with ‘she decides’
It is a truth universally acknowledged that all young people worldwide have the right to explore, experience and express their sexualities in healthy, pleasurable and safe ways. At least, it would be in CHOICE’s ideal world. A world in which all young people openly and safely express their sexuality and who they love. A world in which they are sexually healthy and can make well-informed choices about their sexual actions. A world in which all young people can openly and safely choose if, with who, when and how to have children. It is this vision of a better world that lies at the core of CHOICE and that keeps our incredible team of staff and youth advocates going.
Unfortunately, the realization of our ideal world became stonewalled when President Trump of the USA reinstated the Mexico City Policy, also referred to as the Global Gag Rule in media. This Global Gag Rule puts an immediate stop to all U.S. funding to programs and organizations that offer a broad range of family planning services such as sexual education, birth control, maternal care and safe abortion. This could amount to $600 million shortfall per year which causes a huge funding gap and leaves around 225 million women and girls worldwide at risk of unintended pregnancies (no access to contraceptives), maternal death (no maternal care) and unsafe abortions.
But let’s not wallow, for now is the time to step up our game and intensify our fight for young people’s sexual rights worldwide. This is why CHOICE applauds the initiative taken by Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Lilianne Ploumen, who took a stand against the Global Gag Rule by setting up a fund to minimize its harmful consequences as much as possible. This Global Fundraising Initiative, with the spirited name ‘She Decides’, aims to ensure that millions of women and girls are in charge of their own bodies. The Dutch Government made the first donation of €10 million and now it’s up to other governments to contribute to make a positive change. It’s also possible for inspired individuals to make a contribution through the website www.shedecides.com.
We truly hope that She Decides will grow exponentially to become a fierce counteract to regressive policies and funding restrictions; which disproportionately affect women and girls, sexual minorities, vulnerable groups and those living in extreme poverty. Please add your support to ‘She Decides’, and call on your Government to wholeheartedly support and financial invest in sexual reproductive health and rights. Let’s make sure together that young people worldwide are enabled to claim their rights and their bodily integrity. Let’s make sure that all future generations can live in a world in which the CHOICE is (Y)OURS!
Header photograph by Jeroen van Loon