AMAC Exclusive – By – David P. Deavel
There are signs that the vision of a prosperous, pro-life, pro-family, pro-middle class agenda with attention to domestic manufacturing and border security, so needed in the U. S., but around the globe, is starting to become a reality as a result of positive developments in three or perhaps four Latin American countries and the momentum given by earlier Trump Administration policies.
The good news in American elections this fall was not restricted to elections in Virginia or even North America. At AMAC, Daniel Roman wrote this week about political developments in Peru, Argentina, and especially Chile. Last week, José Antonio Kast won the first round of Chile’s presidential elections, allowing him to advance to a run-off election on December 19 with Gabriel Boric, the leader of a left-wing coalition. Known by some as the “Chilean Trump” or the “Chilean Bolsonaro” (after the pro-life and pro-freedom Brazilian president), Kast started his own political party three years ago, Republican Action, and runs on a platform of freedom (including market freedom), the traditional family (including pro-life policies and marriage between a man and a woman), and law and order. His somewhat surprising finish is just one sign of a new political movement among Latin Americans that is traditional, conservative, and fighting back against the Biden Administration’s return to American progressive imperialism with regard to abortion, sexuality, and even the rule of law when it comes to immigration.
As expected, the Biden Administration came into office eager to promote abortion internationally. The March 8, 2021, Executive Order on Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council listed as one of its main goals to “increase access to comprehensive health care, address health disparities, and promote sexual and reproductive health and rights.” Sexual and reproductive health is a way of saying abortion without saying the words, and this goal was obvious from the beginning. Among the flurry of executive orders and memoranda released immediately by the new Biden Administration in January was the Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad. In that document, President Biden rescinded yet again the famed Mexico City Policy. This policy, begun by President Reagan, followed by every Republican president, and rescinded by every Democratic president since, “directed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand this limitation and withhold USAID family planning funds from NGOs that use non-USAID funds to perform abortions, provide advice, counseling, or information regarding abortion, or lobby a foreign government to legalize abortion or make abortion services more easily available.” Interestingly enough, the Biden memo noted that President Trump’s implementation of the policy “substantially expanded these restrictions by applying the policy to global health assistance provided by all executive departments and agencies (agencies).”
Thus the Memorandum’s attendant refunding of the United Nations Population Fund and the direction of USAID to work with all those agencies to immediately provide assistance to all those agencies providing abortions. Not surprising then that the Biden Administration has continued to push for international abortion in the time since that document. In response to a September Mexican Supreme Court ruling that Mexican states cannot completely prohibit abortions, the U. S. Embassy supported the release of a documentary in Baja California (where abortion was illegal) titled I Decide with Love: Accompanied in Abortion in order to promote abortion and inform people of a group that assists women in getting chemical abortions.
So too in the State Department’s Foreign Operations Bill is a passage indicating pressure on another Latin American country to provide abortion. In the section on “Women’s Healthcare in El Salvador,” the bill directs the Secretary of State “to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations on the availability of women’s reproductive healthcare in El Salvador, including . . . access to abortion and post-abortion care” within 120 days of passage.
Finally, on November 4, the State Department made an addendum to the way in which the U. S. reports on human rights around the world. The addendum restores an Obama-era trick in which countries are assessed according to whether they practice “discrimination against women in accessing sexual and reproductive health care.” That is, countries that put restrictions on or prohibit abortion will be marked down in their human rights assessment.
So far, so bad. But a little-noticed provision in that March Memorandum also bore testimony to the seeds of that international movement to resist American pro-abortion hegemony. President Biden directed the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “withdraw co-sponsorship and signature from the Geneva Consensus Declaration (Declaration) and notify other co-sponsors and signatories to the Declaration and other appropriate parties of the United States’ withdrawal.”
What is the Geneva Consensus? Signed initially by 34 nations, the Geneva Consensus is a document affirming a commitment to women’s health that both affirms that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State” and also pledges member countries to “Reaffirm that there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion, 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 document, created with the assistance and efforts of Valerie Huber, who worked in the Trump HHS’s Office of Global Affairs, just celebrated its one-year anniversary on October 28. Not only was its creation done with the assistance of the Trump White House, but it was mandated and inspired by President Trump’s September 24, 2019, Remarks to the 74th Session of the Assembly of the United Nations. In that speech, President Trump had declared: “Americans will also never tire of defending innocent life. We are aware that many United Nations projects have attempted to assert a global right to taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, right up until the moment of delivery. Global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life. Like many nations here today, we in America believe that every child — born and unborn — is a sacred gift from God.” Trump’s bold affirmation of the right to life for the unborn child as well as those outside the womb and his defense of nations’ rights to resist those declaring a “global right” to abortions even up to the point of birth was a clarion call for nations resisting abortion imperialism.
With the possible Chilean presidency of Mr. Kast, will we see yet another signatory to the Geneva Consensus? By the time of the October anniversary of the document, both Russia and Guatemala had signed on to the document. The latter country, under the leadership of President Alejandro Giamattei, a retired surgeon, had already rescinded an agreement allowing Planned Parenthood to operate in the country in 2020, and also presented in July 2021 a major initiative that was designed to protect infants in the womb, provide medical assistance to mothers, and social assistance to the elderly. Upon his signing of the Geneva Consensus on October 12, 2021, President Giamattei declared that abortion is the “denial of authentic human rights.” Will other Latin American countries that have allowed abortion return to the protection of pre-born human life?
Even a few swallows don’t necessarily guarantee spring. But some of the material in President Trump’s 2019 speech also criticized other aspects of American cultural imperialism that will play a part in the future of this hemisphere. He criticized especially those advocates for open borders, noting that “mass illegal immigration is unfair, unsafe, and unsustainable for everyone involved,” including the migrants themselves who “are exploited, assaulted, and abused by vicious coyotes” and those receiving countries that have to deal with the criminal organizations and human disasters that such mass immigration brings with it. What he wanted, he said, was for the rule of law and prosperity for all: “For all of the countries of the Western Hemisphere,” he said, “our goal is to help people invest in the bright futures of their own nation. Our region is full of such incredible promise: dreams waiting to be built and national destinies for all. And they are waiting also to be pursued.” Brazil’s tilt over the last few years, along with the victories in Guatemala and Peru, suggest Trump’s message had a hearing. Perhaps, too, even in Mexico.
Eduardo Verastegui, the well-known Mexican actor and director, addressed CPAC this past summer, sounding the alarm about the socialist threats to freedom and prosperity in Latin America. He also pleaded with President Biden to enforce the borders between the U. S. and Mexico, noting the “dramatic surge” of migrants passing into and through Mexico to the U. S. “That is a national security threat for both countries,” he said, “as well as a serious humanitarian crisis for both countries. Poor and humble people are leaving their countries to embark on a dangerous journey north, in which so many are victims of all sorts of crimes, including violent crime. Studies show that perhaps up to 60 percent of women and girls are victims of some form of sexual violence, including rape. Moreover, the massive and irregular movement of people facilitates human trafficking, as well as child trafficking.”
Verastegui is doing what he does best. The director of the hit pro-life themed movie Bella announced his newest film due out in January 2022 titled Sound to Freedom about “a real hero that rescues children from sexual exploitation.” But he is also doing something else. At the end of his speech he announced that his own political organization, the Viva Mexico Foundation, will host “the first-ever CPAC Mexico in Mexico City.”
The signs are there of a Latin American resistance to the dull but deadly progressive vision of a world of open borders, abortion on demand, and American elites telling other countries how to imitate what has manifestly failed here in the good ol’ U. S. of A.
David P. Deavel is editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, and a visiting professor at the University of St. Thomas (MN). He is the co-host of the Deep Down Things podcast.