Health care

50 nations to meet over Trump ban on family planning funds

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, as Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., listen.  (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Image via AP)

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, as Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., listen. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Image via AP)

Organizers say some 50 countries have signed up to attend a family planning conference convened to see how nations can make up for a funding gap left by President Donald Trump's ban on U.S. funding to organizations linked to legal abortion.

The participants agreed to attend conference planned for Thursday in Brussels on short notice.

Belgian Vice Premier Alexander De Croo said in an interview with The Associated Press that "this should not be a moment where we are taking steps back into the Dark Ages."

Trump's decision withholds about half a billion dollars in U.S. funding from international groups that perform abortions or provide information about abortions.

Officials in many European nations and around the world say the move will hurt women and girls who need family planning most.