AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
Even though the United States is almost a full year into the most radically pro-abortion presidential administration in American history, 2021 has been a refreshingly optimistic year for the pro-life movement, and has demonstrated that, despite some troubling political setbacks, advocates for the unborn are in a historically strong and promising position.
Just this month, the Supreme Court signaled that it may be prepared to revisit decades’ worth of legal precedent that has recognized and upheld the expansive right to abortion in the United States for nearly half a century. Moreover, on December 10, the High Court refused to strike down Texas’s pro-life law, which bans abortions after six weeks and has already saved many unborn lives since its enactment in September. And now, conservative government leaders throughout the world are taking steps to revive the Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family, a Trump administration initiative that declares there is no international human right to abortion—even though President Joe Biden formally withdrew from the agreement roughly a week after taking office.
The Geneva Consensus Declaration (GCD) maintains that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State,” and requires 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 Declaration was initiated by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October 2020. Built on the four “pillars” of “Concern for women’s health,” “Protection of human life,” “Strengthening the family – the basic unit of society,” and “Defense of the sovereignty of nations in creating their own life protection policies,” the GCD received support from 34 countries immediately upon its ratification.
The GCD ultimately grew out of and drew inspiration from President Trump’s remarks to the 74th Session of the Assembly of the United Nations in September 2019, one year prior to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s formal introduction of the Declaration. “Americans will also never tire of defending innocent life,” Trump said in the address. “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.”
That same week, Trump also took the significant step of convening an international religious liberty summit—the first of its kind for a UN “high-level week.” “The United States is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government; they come from God,” Trump said at the summit. “Our Founders understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions.”
Following Biden’s abandonment of the Declaration in January, Valerie Huber—a chief architect of the GCD and former Trump administration official—has taken it upon herself to coordinate the initiative through her pro-life organization, the Institute for Women’s Health, for which she has served as President and CEO since August.
Thanks to Huber’s commitment to the protection of unborn life, in October, the Republic of Guatemala became the 35th signatory to the GCD. Upon joining the agreement this October, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamattei signaled that the Declaration is “a clear message to the international community that there are many countries that recognize that there is a fundamental right—a human right—to life that must be guaranteed and defended.” He continued by saying, “Any claim that there is already an international consensus in favor of abortion, as some sadly allege, is totally false.” Abortion, Giamattei said, is the “denial of authentic human rights.” Weeks after signing the Declaration, he spoke at an event in Washington, D.C., where he vowed to make Guatemala the pro-life capital of Latin America.
Now, with the growing wave of elected conservative leaders in Latin American nations, perhaps the GCD could see even more signatories in the months and years ahead. But regardless, the recent swath of Latin American leaders who are proudly embracing socially conservative policies is encouraging not only for the future of a reliably conservative international coalition, but also for the global protection of life in its most innocent form. It has become increasingly clear that pro-life advocates’ greatest line of defense against the international abortion industry—at least for the time being—is conservative governments like Guatemala in Latin America and elsewhere.
As the Biden administration continues to wage war on the unborn and promote its radical abortion-on-demand program in poor Latin American countries, pro-life activists have found a champion in Alejandro Giamattei (and others like him) for his firm and unwavering defense of unborn life.
Though the GCD may no longer be officially recognized by the U.S. government, it nonetheless continues to enjoy the support of pro-life governments and communities around the world. Even in the face of Biden’s pro-abortion administration, the pro-life movement has much to be grateful for this Christmas season and much to hope for in the year ahead.