Danish-Dutch Fund For Overseas Abortion/LGBT Groups May Inflame Laws on Foreign Funding

By Wendy Wright | October 9, 2014

NEW YORK, October 10 (C-Fam) As Africa is ravaged by ebola and terrorism, Denmark and Netherlands announced a new fund for the beleaguered region.

Health providers exposed to the deadly virus and schoolgirls abducted by terrorists failed in importance for these patrons – who instead choose a red-hot issue that may inflame restrictions against foreign funding for civil society groups.

The Danes and Dutch formed a new fund with two U.S. foundations to dole out $19 million to small outfits that agitate for abortion and unsafe sexual behavior in sub-Saharan and South Asian countries.

Princess Mary of Denmark announced her government is allocating nearly $14 million to the Amplify Change fund. The money will go to civil society groups “working on neglected areas” of the UN’s twenty-year old population and development agenda, a Danish minister for trade and development added.

The launch of the fund – during the UN’s annual gathering of heads of state in September – suggests defiance of the targeted countries that decline to adopt Western standards of sexual libertinism.

Frustrated by a failure to impose abortion and sexual rights onto nations with religious and traditional morals, the fund will bypass governments and popular will.  It will seek out unpopular controversial groups within countries to challenge laws and cultural standards.

Its slogan is “funding to break the silence on SRHR,” shorthand for sexual and reproductive health and rights. This often refers to unsafe sexual activity, abortion and teaching children to practice both.

Amplify Change states it will dole out money to “small, grassroots organizations to advocate for, and support policy on, marginalized sexual and reproductive health and rights issues which often fail to attract finance from mainstream donors for political or religious reasons.”

One television network reported Amplify Change would only “support women in poor countries . . .to improve the opportunities of women worldwide, particularly in third world countries.”

Amplify Change, however, is crystal clear about its controversial work – and admits its topics are hard for “funders to proudly and publicly support,” writes partner Hewlett Foundation. The fourth partner, Packard Foundation, was silent about the initiative.

Some 50 countries limit foreign funding of civil society groups, with tighter restrictions escalating in recent years according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The trend toward regulating foreign donations to voluntary association reflects broad concerns, including financing terrorism. The laws prohibit, or require permission for activities that may affect sovereignty, elections, diplomatic relations, or religious harmony.

Some worry the U.S. and European interference on divisive sexuality issues may fuel tougher laws.

The Obama administration created the Global Equality Fund in 2011 to hand out grants to foreign lesbian, homosexual and transgender groups. In 2012, USAID was kicked out of Russia over broad complaints of undermining sovereignty.

Homosexual activists are criticizing a proposed Nigerian bill. Groups would have to get government permission in advance to receive foreign funds and approval for projects. Violators would face 2 years in jail.  

Nigeria introduced the foreign-funding bill after it strengthened its law against homosexual activity. That law followed the Global Equality Fund and Obama’s declaration that all U.S. agencies dealing with diplomacy and foreign assistance must promote homosexual and transgender rights.

In July, Hungary’s prime minister complained, “We’re not dealing with civil society members but paid political activists trying to help foreign interests here.”