US signs anti-abortion pact with more than 30 other countries

Anthony Leonardi, The United States signed an international document joined by more than 30 countries declaring opposition to abortion.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo participated in a virtual signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration on Thursday, a pact focusing on “promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family” but stating opposition to “an international right to abortion.” Other countries involved include Haiti, Egypt, Brazil, Hungary, Uganda, and Indonesia.

“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. Without apology, we affirm that governments have the sovereign right to make their own laws to protect innocent life and write their regulations on abortion. The stakes are too high to permit radical, divisive agendas to hinder the ability of women in countries at all stages of development to attain better health,” Azar said in remarks.

“Today’s Geneva Consensus Declaration builds upon last year’s joint statements for formalizing our work together to defend these critical values. Our coalition will hold multilateral organizations accountable. We will denounce these organizations when they overstep their mandates by promoting positions that can never gain consensus. We will unequivocally declare that there is no international right to abortion. We will proudly put women’s health first at every stage of life,” he continued.

Pompeo also said the pact affirmed that “every country has its own sovereign right to determine its own laws with respect to abortion.”

“Perhaps most importantly, the declaration reaffirms ‘the inherent dignity and worth’ of every human being by emphasizing that every human being has the fundamental right to human life. Indeed, this is what the American founders knew so clearly. It’s what we’re upholding here today, that legacy,” he said.

Abortion-rights advocates expressed disapproval of the move.

Tarah Demant, the director of the gender, sexuality, and identity program at Amnesty International USA, told Forbes that it “flies in the face of human rights and decades of health research.” Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, said in a statement that the pact “attempts to undermine bedrock human rights agreements and women’s health and reproductive rights here at home and around the world.”

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