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“Life begins at conception and should be protected”: Global Coalition of 36 Governments Recommits to Preserving Pro-Life Women’s Health Policy

WASHINGTON, DC (25 October 2023) – The 36 government signatories of the Geneva Consensus Declaration gathered in Washington on Tuesday to recommit to protecting the rights of both women and unborn children. The Geneva Consensus Declaration, launched in 2020, reaffirms “the inherent dignity and worth of the human person” and that “every human being has the inherent right to life.” As signatories of the Declaration, governments commit to “enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant” and emphasize that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning.”  

The international Declaration marked its third anniversary at a high-level meeting of governments at the U.S. Capitol, co-chaired by Senator Daines (R-Montana), Senator Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Senator Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Congressman Jim Banks (R-Indiana), Congressman Aderholt (R-Alabama), and Congressman Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), together with the ambassadors of Guatemala and Hungary.   

“It is possible, and essential, for governments to commit to protecting innocent human lives, while also providing the highest level of care and support for expectant mothers. The Geneva Consensus Declaration clearly shows that a great many countries around the world value human life, both born and unborn, and are making every effort to support both women and children,” stated Elyssa Koren, Director of Legal Communications for ADF International, which is committed to protecting the right to life globally. 

Koren added, “What the Geneva Consensus Declaration makes clear is that there is no human right to abortion. Under international law, all people, born or unborn, have an inherent right to life. ADF International is encouraged by the coalition of governments seen today that are committed to protecting life and to advancing life-affirming health initiatives for women around the world.” 

The Geneva Consensus Declaration  

The Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family has been signed by 36 governments who, together, pledge to uphold the highest standards of women’s health, promote the strength of the family, and protect the right to life.  

“Without question, this coalition is more important than ever before,” stated Valerie Huber, President of the Institute of Women’s Health, who sponsored this week’s event. “Today, we stand in solidarity around shared priorities…to see the health of women and girls improve around the world, to affirm the family as foundational to every healthy society, to glare there is no international right to abortion—it’s up to the country to decide for themself—and to defend the sovereign right of every nation to defend those values.” 

Government representatives at yesterday’s anniversary event reaffirmed the coalition’s commitment to advancing women’s health policy beyond abortion, and upholding policies to promote the welfare of women, families, and children in the womb. 

“It’s so wonderful to see people from so many different countries and so many different walks of life come together to stand united on these critical shared values and recognize that our rights come from God, not from government,” said Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus and congressional honorary co-chair of today’s event. “Life begins at conception and should be protected…Together, we can fight back and defend our values and our way of life much stronger than we can as individual countries,” she continued. 

US Senator James Lankford, congressional honorary co-chair of the event and leader of the Senate Values Action Team, called attention to the importance of families, stating, “When families are strong, nations are strong. When families are weak, nations are weak.” Referring to the 36 countries who are a part of the Geneva Consensus Declaration, Lankford said “We believe in the value of every single person. We don’t believe some children are disposable; we believe that every one of those children is valuable and should be given opportunity. This should be a unifying feature for us, to be able to gather around and be able to determine what is it in all of our diversity that actually unifies us.” 

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