Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 19, 2022 / 10:00 am (CNA).
U.S. Senators are calling on President Joe Biden to rejoin a growing coalition of 37 nations finding that there is no “international right” to abortion, after he previously withdrew the United States’ support.
Republican Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and James Lankford of Oklahoma introduced a resolution Thursday requesting that Biden recommit the U.S. to the Geneva Consensus Declaration (GCD) — a declaration that promises to support women’s health and well-being, the family as the foundation of society, and the right to life of every human being.
Two years ago, in 2020, the U.S. hosted the signing ceremony of the GCD. At that time, 35 nations signed on, representing more than 1.6 billion people. The United States later withdrew its signature under the Biden administration.
“President Biden should reverse this decision and have the United States rejoin the Declaration,” Daines said in a press release. “Protecting the most vulnerable among us is an all-hands-on-deck battle and together we can work towards a future that recognizes the dignity of every life, everywhere.”
Lankford added: “It is embarrassing that the United States would surrender its moral leadership on the international stage, but this resolution affirms the United States’ commitment to protect life and uphold families.”
Daines and Lankford, together with Republican Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, served as congressional honorary co-chairs of a GCD commemoration luncheon held in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
A host of foreign dignitaries, U.S. legislators, and representatives of nonprofits attended the event sponsored by the Institute for Women’s Health (IWH), a women’s health policy organization. Valerie Huber, IWH’s president and CEO, served as the GCD’s architect while at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“I saw the needs for girls’ and women’s health around the world going unanswered because of ideological agendas, and the GCD was created in response to that — to give countries a way to bind together around common values and to promote health and thriving,” she told CNA.
At the event, she announced that Kazakhstan was joining the coalition. She called the country’s addition a “hopeful indication of more in 2023.”
Along with leaders from around the world, Daines and Lankford also delivered remarks at the luncheon.
“Despite President Biden sadly, tragically removing the United States from the declaration, I will tell you this does not represent the view of the American people,” Daines said.
Citing the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and leave the issue of abortion up to the people and their elected representatives, he added: “What the U.S. has accomplished on the issue of life in the last year is a cause for thanksgiving.”
“The fact that the United States now recognizes that there is no right to abortion written in invisible ink in our nation’s Constitution,” he stressed to world leaders, “should encourage all of us in our shared efforts that international law and international agreements are not really written to invent an international right to abortion that would override the duly and active laws of your countries protecting preborn babies.”
Daines called life a gift and a “precious miracle given to us by God” that no government or court can take away.
Lankford hoped that, one day, the U.S. will view the protection of the unborn as unquestionable.
“I believe, in the coming decades around the world, nations will look back at their history, when they used to destroy children because they were inconvenient, and will say, ‘Why did we ever do that?’” he said. “Just like we do in our nation, when we look back and say, ‘Why did we ever have slavery in our nation? Why did we ever have a time when women couldn’t vote in our nation?’”
In 2021, Daines and Lankford also introduced a concurrent resolution in celebration of the first anniversary of the GCD’s launch.
At the time of its signing, in 2020, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said that it was written partially in response to a “disturbing trend” in the United Nations, with more nations and supporting U.N. agencies considering abortion a “universal human right.”
On abortion, the GCD condemns the use of abortion as a “method of family planning” and maintains that there is “no international right to abortion.”
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