- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2020

The U.S. joined 31 other nations Thursday in signing a declaration that says there is “no international right to abortion.”

The so-called Geneva Consensus Declaration, signed at a virtual gathering for the 2020 World Health Assembly, also espouses “equal opportunity” for women in politics and society.

However, the document, which was posted Thursday to the Department of Health and Human Services’ website, criticizes abortion as an aspect of health care.

The declaration states that the 32 nations signing the document “emphasize that ‘in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning’ and that ‘any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level accordion to the national legislative process.’”

The U.S. co-sponsored the resolution with Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Uganda and Brazil. Other signers include many Gulf and Arab nations, as well as Poland, Kenya and Congo.

“Today, we’re taking the next step. At its very core, the declaration protects women’s health … and reiterates the vital importance of the family as the foundation of society,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a videotaped message at the virtual signing ceremony.

The consensus drew swift cheers from pro-life groups, including the conservative legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom.

“We applaud the governments involved for taking steps to better support all pregnant women and invest resources in supporting both lives in a pregnancy — that of the mother and her unborn child,” Elyssa Karen, the group’s international director of U.N. advocacy, said in a statement.

In a series of posts on Twitter, the National Council of Jewish Women criticized the declaration and the event recognizing its signing, which was attended by Mr. Pompeo and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

“The majority of Americans support abortion access and this declaration threatens the fundamental right over our bodies nationally and globally,” the group tweeted.

• Christopher Vondracek can be reached at cvondracek@washingtontimes.com.

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