So far, government leaders from 37 nations on five continents have signed a document vowing to uphold pro-life, traditional family policies and women’s health needs, and asserting that “there is no international right to abortion.”
The Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family (GCD), was launched in November 2020 by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Women’s Health. It continues to pick up global momentum. Supporters of the declaration marked its second anniversary Thursday on Capitol Hill. Sens. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Rep. Jody Hice (R-Georgia) delivered remarks, joined by the ambassadors of Hungary, Brazil and Guatemala.
The Trump administration, which had supported pro-life policies, had signed the GCD in 2020, but the Biden administration withdrew U.S. support.
The Institute for Women’s Health (IWH) initiated the declaration largely as a response to global pressure for an international human right to abortion. Abortion-minded governments, some large corporations, philanthropic organizations and abortion rights groups have often tied financial aid and grants to abortion access in developing nations.
The United Nations published a document in 2019 aiming at “universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights” by 2030. The U.N.’s 2019 declaration speaks broadly of “sexual and reproductive health.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is pushing for the decriminalization of abortion worldwide.
Emphasizing the sovereignty of global nations, the GCD 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.”
It also states that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning” and that “any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process.”
IWH President Valerie Huber, in announcing Kazakhstan as the 37th signatory of the declaration, also noted, “The Geneva Consensus Declaration intentionally creates alliances with both traditional and non-traditional allies in order to strengthen mutually agreed upon norms within the GCD.”
The nations signing the document represent majority Christian, Muslim and other groups, expressing agreement about the importance of the traditional family unit to society.
“Authentic women’s health cannot be achieved at the expense of innocent human life—and the prerequisite for a truly progressive society is support for both woman and child through motherhood and beyond,” said Elyssa Koren, legal communications director at ADF International. “The Geneva Consensus Declaration makes clear that there exists robust global opposition to the lie of an international ‘human right’ to abortion, and that, ultimately, no such right exists.”
Daines, the Montana senator, has introduced a Senate resolution that would celebrate the GCD and ask President Biden to add the U.S. as a signatory to the document. A companion resolution will be introduced in the House.
“This coalition is essential to giving a voice to the not millions, but billions of people who want to defend life and defend the family,” Daines said Thursday.
Stressing the importance of protecting every child, “before they are born and when they are born,” Oklahoma’s Lankford added, “In the decades to come, the conversations that are happening here will bear fruit.”
Photo: Courtesy of ADF International