On Thursday, October 22, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and HHS Secretary Alex Azar participated in the virtual signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a historic document that further strengthens an ongoing coalition to achieve better health for women, the preservation of human life, support for the family as foundational to a healthy society, and the protection of national sovereignty in global politics.
The document was co-sponsored by the United States, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda, and co-signed by 32 countries in total, representing more than 1.6 billion people.
The main tenants of the Declaration are:
- “there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion;”
- “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning;”
- “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State;”
- “motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance;” and
- “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Secretary Pompeo said in his remarks, “Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has defended the dignity of human life everywhere and always. He’s done it like no other President in history. We’ve also mounted an unprecedented defense of the unborn abroad. … Today, we’re taking the next step, as we sign the Geneva Consensus Declaration. 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.”
Secretary Azar said at the event, “The Declaration is much more than a statement of beliefs—it is a critical and useful tool to defend these principles across all United Nations bodies and at every multilateral setting, using language previously agreed to by member states of those bodies. … Tragically, women around the world unnecessarily suffer health challenges—all too often, deadly health challenges—while too many wealthy nations and international institutions put a myopic focus on a radical agenda that is offensive to many cultures and derails agreement on women’s health priorities. Today, we put down a clear marker: No longer can U.N. agencies reinterpret and misinterpret agreed-upon language without accountability. Member States set the policy for the U.N. to pursue. Not the other way around.”