On Thursday the United States and the governments of Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda co-sponsored the so-called Geneva Consensus Declaration urging member states to achieve (1) better health for women, (2) the preservation of human life, (3) the strengthening of family as the foundational unit of society, and (4) the protection of every nation to make their own laws in regard to abortion, absent external pressure. Twenty-six other countries, including Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Bahrain, the UAE, Iraq, South Sudan and Sudan, joined the co-sponsors in signing the declaration.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar cohosted a virtual signing event to support the HHS Protecting Life in Global Health Policy (PLGHP) initiative. The declaration made reference to multiple anti-abortion commitments. The first, quoted from a 1994 United Nations Conference, states:
[The signators] [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; [the signators] [r]eaffirm that the child . . . needs special safeguards and care . . . before as well as after birth and special measures of protection and assistance should be taken on behalf of all children (citations omitted).
The Declaration concluded with the following commitments by the named nations: ensuring the enjoyment of human rights and equal opportunities for all women, reaffirming that there is no international right to abortion, nor an obligation on behalf of the nations to finance abortion, and supporting the role of the family as foundational to society.
Observers have noted that many of the nations who joined the US in signing this declaration are ranked by Georgetown University’s Women, Peace and Security Index as the worst countries in the world to be a woman.