Contributed by Shannon Wixom.

Something really exciting happened in the international pro-life, pro-family community a year ago, and most people probably don’t know or remember what it was. Are you one of them? If so, don’t stress, I’m about to fill you in.

Sponsored by the United States, along with Brazil, Egypt, Iraq and Uganda, 34 countries signed the Geneva Consensus Declaration (GCD) on promoting women’s health and strengthening the family. Arguably the most controversial part of the declaration was the bold assertion that abortion is not a human right, despite the push of progressive nations and organizations like the UN to view it as such.

At the time of its signing, mainstream media outlets overwhelmingly touted the GCD as:

“…another giant step backwards for the United States as it joins a list of countries willingly endangering people’s health and lives.”

“…the strongest expression of an ultra-conservative move against reproductive justice in decades.”

“…a document developed by the US government that sought to suppress and altogether erode hard-won human rights for women and minorities.”

“…a direct and explicit attack on the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

An attack on the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Let’s dive into the accusation that the Geneva Consensus Declaration is an attack on the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). 

Article 3 of the UDHR states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” 

We can all agree this article is essential, right? So does the GCD attack this right? The nations who signed it began by saying, “In solidarity, we reaffirm ‘all are equal before the law,’ and ‘human rights of women are an inalienable, integral, and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.’’’

Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t sound like a document intended to “suppress and altogether erode the hard-won human rights for women.” It sounds remarkably like one that was meant to reinforce women’s rights.

The GCD also reaffirms “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.’”

Is that affirmation a “giant step backwards” for women? Mainstream media outlets, fueled by abortion advocates, insist that it is, despite what the declaration clearly states. I encourage you to google the Geneva Consensus Declaration and see how long it takes to find an article that speaks favorably about it. You might come to the same conclusion that I did: we live in a day where right is perceived as wrong, and wrong is paraded as right.

To those of us with eyes to see, far from being an attack on human rights, the GCD clarifies and enhances them, especially where women, families and innocent human life are concerned.

Why was the Geneva Consensus Declaration necessary? 

With the UDHR in play in the international arena since 1948, was the GCD even necessary? Oh yes! Many progressive nations and organizations promote abortion as a human right, and frequently withhold humanitarian aid, etc. to countries who will not support it as well. (See the article Pro-Life Nations Reject UN’s Cultural Colonialism on Abortion, Population Control by Grace Melton.)

In addition, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has hijacked the original UDHR and arbitrarily determined that human rights “…measures must not result in violation of the right to life of a pregnant woman or girl, or her other rights under the Covenant. Thus, restrictions on the ability of women or girls to seek abortion must not, inter alia, jeopardize their lives, subject them to physical or mental pain or suffering which violates article 7, discriminate against them or arbitrarily interfere with their privacy.” (United Nations Human Rights Committee’s General Comment on the Right to Life)

There is a bitter irony here: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created to protect those who are unable to defend themselves, yet now it is being used to justify the extermination of countless human lives merely because they have not been born yet and are an inconvenient side effect in the wake of the global sexual revolution. All under the guise of protecting women from any “physical or mental” pain or suffering.

What happens now that the U.S. has withdrawn from the GCD?

It was a bleak day for me and other pro-life and pro-family advocates when the Biden Administration announced the U.S. had “rescinded its co-sponsorship and endorsement of the Geneva Consensus Declaration.” This was done almost as soon as the current president had had a chance to test out the powers of his new executive pen, and certainly without representing the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly support restrictions on abortion access and “rights”. (See the article Poll Finds Americans Say Killing Babies in Abortion is “Morally Wrong” by Steven Ertelt.)

Yet all is not lost with the GCD. In addition to pro-life and pro-family organizations like United Families International who firmly support it, the other 33 countries remain pledged to the declaration and Guatemala just recently signed as well

. They represent a diverse array of nations who, while not seeing eye to eye on many issues, have committed to work together to promote the tenets of the declaration. Among the things they have committed to do is “…Support the role of the family as foundational to society and as a source of health, support, and care.”  

Earlier this year, an Intermarium Regional Conference was held to reaffirm and promote the concepts of the GCD in Central Europe. “What we all can observe nowadays,” the website for the conference stated, “is the fact that ideas of the Geneva Consensus Declaration remain important not only for its signatories, but also for other countries of the Intermarium Region and its citizens. For this reason, we wish to extensively promote a declaration among all these states and encourage them to participate in the initiative of protecting our common values.”

The most hopeful thought for those of us who support the Geneva Consensus Declaration lies with the final commitment the participating countries agreed upon: to “…Engage across the UN system to realize these universal values, recognizing that individually we are strong, but together we are stronger.” 

Thomas Paine knew this as well when he said, “It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies.” Our numbers may be small, but our cause is just and our unity knows no bounds. Let each of us-whether individuals, organizations or nations-go forward holding steadfast to the pillars of the Geneva Consensus Declaration: concern for women’s health, protection of human life, strengthening the family as the basic unit of society, and defending the sovereignty of nations in creating their own life protection policies.

Original regional cosponsors

Federative Republic of Brazil
Arab Republic of Egypt
Republic of Indonesia
Republic of Uganda

Other signers:

Kingdom of Bahrain
Republic of Belarus
Republic of Benin
Burkina Faso
Republic of Cameroon
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
Republic of Djibouti
Kingdom of Eswatini
Republic of The Gambia
Republic of Haiti
Republic of Niger
Sultanate of Oman
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Republic of Paraguay
Republic of Poland
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Republic of Senegal
Republic of South Sudan
Republic of Sudan
United Arab Emirates
Republic of Zambia
Republic of Iraq Republic of Kenya
State of Kuwait
State of Libya
State of Qatar
Republic of Nauru