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(LifeSiteNews) — During the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference this month, pro-life experts from around the world expressed support for a declaration rejecting an “international right to abortion.”

The event, which consisted of a panel discussing “how embracing the Geneva Consensus Declaration advances the well-being of women and girls,” took place on March 10 as a CSW side event. The Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam) organized the gathering, which was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations.

C-Fam vice president for legal studies Stefano Gennarini began the session by expressing the importance of the Geneva Consensus Declaration (GCD). Although signed by more than 30 countries upon its release in 2020, there has been international pressure to reject the declaration.

“Some powerful governments are putting pressure on countries to renounce the Geneva Consensus Declaration,” Gennarini said. “Ask yourselves: Why would the most powerful countries on earth — including the U.S. government — put pressure on governments to renege a commitment to promote optimal women’s health, the family, respect for sovereignty? Why is this document so important? Because it shows that international cooperation can be pro-woman and at the same time pro-life, pro-family, and pro-sovereignty.”

Gennarini added that these “countries are attacking the Geneva Consensus Declaration … without any political legitimacy” and use “euphemisms like ‘sexual reproductive health’ or ‘reproductive rights’ to promote abortion as a human right.”

“There is no comparable declaration promoting abortion internationally. They won’t even try to have one because of how little support they have. Abortion was never a right under international human rights law and it can never be.”

The rest of the event was a panel of speakers presenting evidence that the pro-life approach is also the most beneficial to women and families.

Valerie Huber, president of the Institute for Women’s Health, began her presentation at the session describing the four pillars of the GCD. These include the promotion and expansion of women’s health, supporting the family as the foundation of society, maintaining that there is no international “right” to abortion, and defending the sovereign rights of a nation to legislate on such issues.

“What is contained in the Geneva Consensus Declaration is not new,” Huber explained. “This is almost exclusively quoting previous agreed documents by member states.”

“The [GCD] is consistent with research on what’s necessary for women and girls to thrive,” she continued, highlighting that “health across the lifespan” and “the importance of family” are key for women’s health.

“The research shows that not only involving families in health is cost effective, but it is also predictive of actual success in improving the health of women and girls … A healthy family gives girls especially that emotional and social support that is helpful for their life improvement, especially when they’re in disadvantaged situations.”

Rebecca Oas, director of research at C-Fam, also spoke, sharing evidence that abortion and contraception are not effective ways of increasing women’s health.

“While it may seem to make sense conceptually to place maternal health under the umbrella of reproductive health, in practice this turns a topic that enjoys broad political support into a hotly contested space, bringing issues like abortion — which is not an internationally agreed human right — and even family planning, where most of the so-called unmet need is not, in fact, due to lack of access to methods.”

Oas pointed out that “the unmet need for contraceptives which we often hear about” is not, in reality, why women refrain from using various methods of birth control. Most cite “health risks and side effects” as “the most common reasons for non-use or discontinuation of use.”

She added that while “human rights experts and committees within the UN system of human rights” have consistently promoted abortion around the world, individual nations “speaking to each other” about the subject show “the lack of consensus on abortion as a right.”

“The third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review recently concluded, and out of more than 46,000 recommendations issued between countries, only 226 explicitly promoted abortion as a right,” Oas explained. “This issue was unpopular, does not enjoy a consensus, and is a priority for only a small number of countries.”

Those gathered at the event also heard from Neydy Casillas, vice president for international affairs at the Global Center for Human Rights, Ligia Briz of the Asociación La Familia Importa (Family Matters Association), and international program coordinator of Heartbeat International Ellen Foell. These women testified to the need and effectiveness of pro-life initiatives around the world.

The GCD was originally signed by 32 countries on October 22, 2020, including the United States. Other nations listed on the most recent document — which was reaffirmed in 2021 — are Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Uganda, Bahrain, Belarus, Benin, Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Djibouti, Eswatini, Gambia, Georgia, Guatemala, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Nauru, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Zambia.

In May 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that his administration had rescinded the country’s endorsement of the GCD over “reservations that aspects of the document are not consistent with our current Administration’s policies.”

Consistent with this action, the Biden administration has actively promoted detrimental practices branded as “health care” including abortion, contraception, and medical intervention for gender confused individuals.


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