Countries must protect the rights of both women and unborn children—so pledge the 36 government signatories of the Geneva Consensus Declaration, launched in November 2020. The international Declaration marked its second anniversary at a high-level meeting of governments at the U.S. Capitol today, co-chaired by Senator Daines (R-Montana), Senator Lankford (R-Oklahoma), and Congressman Hice (R-Georgia), together with the ambassadors of Brazil, Guatemala, and Hungary.
“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. 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,” stated Elyssa Koren, Director of Legal Communications for ADF International.
Koren added, “Those committed to defending women and children from abortion should take heart that this coalition of governments is committed to advancing pro-life women’s health policy in the international arena.”
Government representatives pledge to protect unborn life
Government representatives reaffirmed the coalition’s commitment to advancing women’s health policy beyond abortion, and upholding policies to promote the welfare of women, families, and children in the womb, emphasizing that, “there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion,” as stated in the Declaration.
Formerly led by the government of Brazil, the Geneva Consensus Declaration secretariat leadership role is now transitioning to the government of Hungary.
Szabolcs Takács, Ambassador of Hungary, stated that the Hungarian government is committed to “protecting traditional family values,” citing the country’s Constitution, which holds that “every human being should have the right to life…and fetal life shall be subject to protection from the moment of conception.”
Referencing Hungary’s programs and policies for women and families, Ambassador Takács noted that Hungary allocates 6% of its GDP for pro-family support, including a 2020 policy according tax exemption benefits to women with four or more children.
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Alfonso Quiñónez, Ambassador of Guatemala, stated that, “Life starts at conception. For us there is no question. It was only natural that we embrace the Geneva Consensus Declaration and all its elements,” further noting recent actions his government has taken to oppose abortion activism at the United Nations.
He added, citing a statement from Guatemala’s President, Alejandro Giammattei: Guatemala “will continue to fight for life in all stages from conception to natural death.”
At the invitation of the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Agnes Kalonji, nurse and midwife, spoke about the crucial importance of the coalition to have real impact on the on the ground reality of maternal mortality in the DRC, highlighting the country’s skilled midwifery program PROSAMI to reduce maternal deaths. The maternal mortality rate in the DRC is one of the highest in the world, with 600 deaths per 100,000 deliveries.
United States Support
Today, Senator Daines introduced a Senate resolution, concurrent with a parallel initiative in the U.S. House of Representatives with the trifold purpose of: 1) celebrating the Geneva Consensus Declaration, 2) encouraging current government members to stay strong, and 3) requesting that President Biden add the U.S. government as a signatory to the Declaration. The U.S. was a founding member of the coalition, and its membership was withdrawn by the Biden administration immediately upon taking office.
“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,” stated Senator Daines.
Speaking to the government representatives in the room, he stated that the goal of the coalition is to ensure that, “international law and international agreements are not rewritten to invent an international right to abortion that would override the duly enacted laws of your countries protecting pre-born babies.”
“Earlier this year, our U.S. Supreme Court overturned its tragic previous decision of Roe v. Wade and returned the issue of abortion back to the people and their elected representatives, and that is where that battle belongs… This should be a great encouragement to our shared efforts to protect life and to protect national sovereignty internationally at, sometimes, against seemingly insurmountable odds,” stated Senator Daines.
Senator Lankford highlighted the value of the coalition for “protecting the value of every single child, before they are born and when they are born,” noting that, “in the decades to come the conversations that are happening here will bear fruit”.
Background of the Geneva Consensus Declaration
The Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family has been signed by 36 governments who, together, pledge to uphold the highest standards of women’s health, promote the strength of the family, and protect the right to life. It was announced today that Kazakhstan will join as the 37th member.
“The Geneva Consensus Declaration was born out of a need to refuse to permit women and girls to needlessly suffer just because special interests have sidelined the most pressing needs in favor of their own ideological agendas,” stated Valerie Huber, President and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Health, which sponsored the event.
“When nations, international organizations, foundations, special interest groups, and multinational corporations apply pressure to countries to adopt values that are contrary to their fundamental values … this compromises life, health, family, and their own sovereignty,” added Huber.
The Declaration mirrors the international human rights framework, which has as its foundation respect for all human life, both born and unborn. There is no international human right to abortion, and the position of the Geneva Consensus is fully supported by international law.
“The Geneva Consensus Declaration serves as an essential safeguard for countries who protect women and their unborn children from the abuse of abortion, and who are pushing back against coercive pressures from outside forces to change their laws and policies on abortion. It is unfortunate that the U.S. under the current administration is at the forefront of global abortion promotion, and the hope is that increased pro-life momentum in the U.S. will empower more countries to reject these incursions into their national sovereignty,” stated Koren.
The international government positions highlighted at the anniversary event stand in sharp contrast to the U.S. government’s current prioritization of funding for abortion access worldwide. In 2022, the U.S. increased its annual budget for international “sexual and reproductive health and rights” services by 9%, totaling $597 million in program allocations around the world.
“Given recent changes to the landscape in the U.S. following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it is deeply incongruous, and inappropriate, for the U.S. to lead the charge on global abortion promotion. Moreover, the illegality of these efforts must be emphasized as U.S. abortion funding is often focused on countries where the practice is illegal,” noted Koren.
ADF International is a faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people.