Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau announced today that his country will invest C$1.4 billion (US$1 billion) annually in women’s and girls’ health around the world, including C$700 million for sexual and reproductive health.
“The moment for Canadian leadership is now,” said Trudeau in a press briefing at the Women Deliver conference in Vancouver. “All women, no matter where they live, should have access to the safe, quality health care they need. By investing in sexual and reproductive health and rights, and maternal, newborn, and child health, we can build a more just, equal, and prosperous world.”
The spending pledge is an increase to existing investments for women’s and girls’ health, worth about C$1.1 billion per year, that were set to expire in 2020. They will reach the full C$1.4 billion-per-year amount in 2023 and continue at that level until 2030. The increase is due to a hike in spending on sexual and reproductive health.
Trudeau spoke about a global “pushback” against women’s rights, including and especially access to abortion. He emphasized that some of the funding would be allocated to women’s groups, aiming to support female entrepreneurs, indigenous women, and LGBTQ people.
In the United States, where the Trump administration last year reinstated a “global gag rule” denying aid to groups who perform abortions or give information about the procedure, nine state legislatures have passed strict anti-abortion laws this year, in what activists have called a “war on women” (paywall).
Research shows that there is a link between restrictive abortion laws and unsafe abortions. The World Health Organization estimates that 25 million unsafe abortions are performed worldwide every year.