On Thursday, the Institute for Women's Health held the 2022 commemoration of the Geneva Consensus Declaration at the U.S. Capitol complex to celebrate the two-year anniversary, for which Townhall was in attendance. The declaration affirms not only women's health, the right to life, and the importance of family but the national sovereignty of each nation to promote these values in accordance with its own laws and policies. This is done by "committing to coordinated efforts in multilateral fora." While 37 countries are part of the declaration, there is a glaring omission in that the United States is not among them.
Such a purposeful move to withdraw came from President Joe Biden, who campaigned on a pro-abortion platform and has been governing as a pro-abortion president from the start. This is even as Biden and Democrats frame their rabid support for abortion as a matter of women's health.
In a statement to Townhall, Valerie Huber, president of the Institute for Women's Health, confirmed how quickly the Biden administration moved.
"The Biden Administration removed all mentions of the Geneva Consensus Declaration from its website on Inauguration Day. By Day 8, they had formally removed the US from the Geneva Consensus Coalition and tried to remove all history of it from UN records," Huber shared. She also added that the "Biden Administration has proved time and again that their agenda stands in complete opposition to everything the GCD stands for. Their actions indicate that they are more concerned about advancing their own ideological agenda, rather than advancing girls' and women's health around the world, specifically in the countries that need it most."
In addition to numerous ambassadors, dignitaries, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in attendance, so were congressional honorary co-chairs, including Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) and Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and James Lankford (R-OK).
Daines gave rousing remarks during the commemoration, during which he directly called out Biden for pulling the United States out as a coalition member. "Despite President Biden sadly, tragically, removing the United States from the declaration, I will tell you this does not represent the view of the American people," Daines said to applause from those in attendance.
The senator also referred to the "silent majority" that the coalition gives a voice to, "of not millions of people, but of billions of people, who want to defend life and defend the family."
Like the other congressional speakers, Daines referenced the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v. Jackson decision back in late June. Daines mentioned the decision in terms of how this "is a cause for thanksgiving" and "this should be a great encouragement to our shared values to protect life, to protect national sovereignty internationally, and sometimes against seemingly insurmountable odds."
On that note about international ramifications, Daines added that "the fact that the United States now recognizes that there is no right to abortion written in visible ink in our nation's Constitution should encourage all of us in our shared efforts that international law and international agreements are not rewritten to invent an international right to abortion that would override the duly and active laws of our countries protecting preborn babies."
Daines also referenced the pro-life issue as a cause for encouragement as the House will now be under pro-life, Republican control as a result of last week's midterm elections, and how there are pro-life governors and state legislatures around the country as well. Daines called this "an untold story" and reminded attendees that "there are great reasons to be encouraged." While "these results should be cheered," Daines pointed out, "our work, of course, is not over."
The senator acknowledged "it is disappointing that [Republicans] did not take back control of the U.S. Senate. Adding, "But I will tell you we will continue to fight," which means refusing to back down and continuing to protect the declaration's principles.
Sens. Daines and Lankford, as well as Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), introduced a concurrent resolution in their respective bodies on Thursday, which not only supports the declaration but specifically addresses the president by name for his actions.
"President Biden's withdrawal from the Declaration did not mark the end of the American commitment to protecting life and family. Instead, President Biden should reverse this decision and have the United States rejoin the Declaration. Protecting the most vulnerable among us is an all-hands-on-deck battle and together we can work towards a future that recognizes the dignity of every life, everywhere," Daines urged the president in a statement.
Lankford called it "embarrassing that the United States would surrender its moral leadership on the international stage." Adding, "But this resolution affirms the United States' commitment to protect life and uphold families."
Among other actions, the resolution "affirms" the points made in the declaration, as well as "declares" them "universally valid" and "welcomes opportunities to strengthen support for the Geneva Consensus Declaration." Lastly, it "calls on President Joseph R. Biden to once again add the United States as a signatory to the Geneva Consensus Declaration."
The resolution also addresses the issue of abortion and foreign policy aid in the United States, with one part noting that Congress "will conduct oversight of the United States executive branch to ensure the United States does not conduct or fund abortions, abortion lobbying, or coercive family planning in foreign countries consistent with longstanding Federal law."
While the Helms Amendment prohibits federal funds from going overseas to pay for abortions, pro-abortion Democrats have introduced legislation to repeal it. This is despite 73 percent of Americans opposing such a move, including those respondents who identify as pro-choice and Democrats, according to a Knights of Columbus/Marist poll from January.
A press release from Sen. Daines' office also notes that the two senators had introduced a resolution to celebrate the declaration's first anniversary.