Cabinet continued forbidden subsidies to anti-abortion group for years
Despite many warnings from officials that it may not be allowed, the Cabinet continued giving subsidies to an anti-abortion group that advised women with unwanted pregnancies. The subsidies began at the request of the Tweede Kamer and were continued for longer than intended by State Secretary Paul Blokhuis.
The organization called Siriz emerged from the VBOK foundation which is critical of the Dutch abortion policy. Since 2014, the organization received more than 1.5 million euros per year at the insistence of the SGP.
The Cabinet had been warned for an extended period of time that the funding was unauthorized, NRC reported on Friday based on documents requested by Clara Wichmann.
When Blokhuis took on his role as state secretary, it was clear that the subsidy of his predecessor was in conflict with the rules surrounding state funding, his spokesperson said. The State Secretary was unable to immediately stop the subsidies because the Tweede Kamer had insisted on the aid.
In the meantime, a new subsidy plan was devised which laid out the support Siriz and other organizations would receive. Under the new plan, Siriz would still receive money, thus, Blokhuis decided on a one-off transaction of 500 thousand euros. The transaction was extended because the subsidy plan took hold slower than anticipated. During this period, money was transferred despite it being clear this was not permitted.
“I considered this important due to the continuity of services in the event of an unwanted pregnancy,” Blokhuis said in a written statement. In the meantime, Siriz no longer receives direct subsidies but money for advice.
Reporting by ANP