Today marks the sixth anniversary of the founding of SheDecides, a global initiative launched in 2017 to fight for a world where every woman, girl and young person can decide what to do with their body, life and future.
I was Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands at the time and initiated SheDecides with colleagues from several governments, activists and funders in response to the return and expansion of the Global Gag Rule, a U.S. policy that prevented foreign organizations receiving global health funding from providing abortion information, services or advocating for access to abortion in some of the poorest countries of the world.
That policy has since been rescinded by the Biden Administration, but the right to bodily autonomy and to control one’s own reproductive health decisions is under attack in countries around the world, including in the United States.
I am proud that SheDecides is now a global movement, with organizers working in many countries around the world to counter opposition, and to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights and bodily autonomy for all.
And I’m proud to now be serving on the global board of directors of Ipas. For 50 years, Ipas has supported communities around the world to ensure access to abortion and contraception for all. We share a steadfast commitment to bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom.