The United States was joined by several countries on Thursday for a virtual ceremony to celebrate the signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family. Co-sponsors of the declaration are the United States, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda. The Declaration currently has 32 signers and remains open, should more countries choose to sign on. Some countries who have already signed in agreement include Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Poland, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia.
The Declaration intends to affirm and strengthen four major goals in international women’s health, including: “better health for women, the preservation of human life, strengthening of family as the foundational unit of society, and protecting every nation’s national sovereignty in global politics.” As part of attaining these pillars, the Declaration holds that “it is the sovereign right of every nation to make their own laws in regard to abortion, absent external pressure,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. This comes as a significant step given the many external pro-abortion pressures often put upon historically and predominantly pro-life nations.
The Declaration also reaffirms “the inherent ‘dignity and worth of the human person,’ that ‘every human being has the inherent right to life,’ and the commitment ‘to enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.’” Additionally, the Declaration emphasizes that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning” and that “the child… needs special safeguards and care… before as well as after birth.”
At the Declaration’s virtual signing ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “At its very core, the Declaration protects women’s health, defends the unborn, and reiterates the vital importance of the family as the foundation of society. The Declaration restates that there is no international right to an abortion. It goes even further, affirming that every country has its own sovereign right to determine its own laws with respect to abortion….”
The statements of the Declaration reflect the United States’ Protecting Life in Global Health Policy, which guides U.S. dealings with the World Health Organization and the United Nations and abides by the same pillars as the four goals of the Declaration (listed above).
As part of attaining these international improvements for women and children, the nations on the Declaration commit to working together to “ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and equal opportunity for women.” Significantly, the Declaration also vows to “reaffirm that there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion,” a tenet “ consistent with the long-standing international consensus that each nation has the sovereign right to implement programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies.”
The Department of Health and Human Services states the Declaration “charts a positive way forward for accelerating progress on achieving this end.”
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