Trump administration set to sign declaration aimed at restricting abortion

Matt Mathers
·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Trump administration will this week join five other countries signing a declaration which seeks to prohibit abortion.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and joint health and human services secretary Alex Azar are scheduled to attend a virtual ceremonial singing of the Geneva Consensus on Thursday.

The Geneva Consensus is a coalition of states who oppose the United Nations's (UN) Declaration of Human Rights, which are enshrined in international law.

In particular, Geneva Consensus members disagree with the UN's stance on abortion.

The UN Human Rights Commission says that abortion is a human right, and many of the US's key Western allies - such as France and the UK - agree with that stance.

States other than the US who support the Geneva Consensus have strict laws on both abortion and same-sex or ban each entirely.

The leaders of Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia and Uganda have each been accused by UN members of abusing human rights.

Geneva Consensus members claim their goal is to achieve "better health for women, the preservation of human life and the strengthening of family as the foundational unit of society".

But by signing the declaration members are essential displaying their support for restricting abortion and same-sex marriage.

The Independent has contacted the Department of Health and Human Services for comment.

The Geneva Consensus has no basis in international law and will not mean abortion or same-sex marriage is restricted in the US.

Instead, the declaration is an attempt by the US and other members to change the conversation about what constitutes a human right.

Prior to taking office in 2016, Mr Trump appeared to flip-flop on the issue of abortion.

But since becoming president he has championed conservative values and reached out to pro-life groups for support while in the White House.

Critics say his attempts to espouse Christian values are a cynical attempt at shoring up votes among the Evangelical community, many of whom voted for him in 2016 and could again be key to deciding who wins the 2020 race for the Oval Office.

Appointed by the president in 2018, secretary Pompeo has been seeking to push a pro-life US foreign policy during his time in office.

Late last month he attempted to use a US-sponsored UN event as a platform to redefine international human rights and prioritize “religious freedom” over LGBTQ equality.

But the event was boycotted by most EU member states.

In a speech titled 'Promoting and Protecting Human Rights: A Re-Dedication to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights', secretary Pompeo told those nations in attendance that international human rights protections are in “crisis".

At the meeting he also touted a recent Trump commission report which elevated rights such as religious freedom as "unalienable", meaning they can't be taken away.

The report also dismissed abortion and same-sex marriage as "divisive social and political controversies".

Read more

Stance on abortion politics varies widely among US clergy

Pompeo urges Vatican to condemn human rights abuses in China

Pompeo visits Guyana hoping to shore up support on Venezuela