FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, July 5, 2023 – On the first anniversary of Roe being overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) quietly released a statement on the Biden administration’s commitment to advancing sexual and reproductive health and “rights” globally. In it, HHS made false claims against the Geneva Consensus Declaration (GCD), a document for which I was the architect while serving as a U.S. Special Representative for Global Women’s Health in 2020.
Improvement in global women’s health is often hindered by a well-funded international pressure campaign forcing ideological agendas upon nations, including those that deeply value health, life, and family. This press statement by the Biden administration is one more example of this incessant campaign.
Not only is the statement arbitrary, it’s dishonest – a direct attempt to discredit the GCD, as well as the first-of-its-kind coalition of 36 nations supporting it. It’s also a stunning demonstration of the administration’s desperation to overcome the influence of a group of sovereign nations that are willing to defend their own citizens, laws and culture against ideological colonization. The fact remains that the GCD is growing and thriving, and its critics are obviously worried.
The Geneva Consensus Declaration quotes and reaffirms international policy statements from documents previously supported and agreed upon by the consensus of UN Member States. And it serves as a clear reminder that UN policy is set by Member States, not by UN agencies, advocacy groups, or a subset of wealthy nations.
A coalition like the GCD can be an effective catalyst to foster real progress in women’s health abroad. It is a rare safe haven for nations that want to improve the health of women, strengthen families, and also stand up for the right to life — a fundamental right in the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, a document to which all nation-states agree. Membership in this coalition should be supported, not discredited, shamed, or threatened.
Authentic gains for women, girls and the family should be a unifying priority of everyone, everywhere – regardless of cultural, economic, religious, or governmental differences. In fact, former President Donald J. Trump recently became the first 2024 U.S. presidential candidate to commit to rejoining the GCD upon election, and I am hopeful he will not be the last.
Thankfully, though, the GCD transcends any U.S. administration. Its strength and legitimacy is not – and could never be – meaningfully altered by Biden’s choice to remove America from it or his repeated attempts to undermine it.