October 29, 2020

31 Nations Stand with US in Declaring "there is no international right to abortion"

HHS Secretary Alex Azar
On Oct. 22, the United States stood alongside 31 other countries at the United Nations that there is no international right to abortion.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and HHS Secretary Alex Azar were both involved in the virtual signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration, which says in its opening words that its purpose is to express “the essential priority of protecting the right to life” and promote the “strength of the family and of a successful and flourishing society.”

The declaration goes on to say that the governments that co-sponsor this document “[r]eaffirm 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.’”

In another point, the declaration says that the sponsoring nations “[e]mphasize 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.’” 

At the signing event, Secretary Azar argued that this declaration is not just a ceremonial gesture:

“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.”

To read more, including the full declaration, click here.