The International Abortion Battle Is Hiding in Plain Sight

The International Abortion Battle Is Hiding in Plain Sight
The United Nations headquarters building in New York is seen from inside the General Assembly hall on Sept. 21, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP)
Valerie Huber

For most Americans, the domestic battle over abortion is the only visible one. However, the much harder to detect international fight over abortion is one they should be watching.

For decades, there has been a dishonest and unrelenting pressure campaign at the United Nations to cajole member nations into declaring abortion a human right, regardless of their national views and policies. A resolution was just adopted at a U.N. General Assembly promoting the idea that access to “safe abortion” is a human rights issue. But more than 30 countries supported an amendment striking this language.

Member nations seeking to fabricate an international “right” to abortion are undermining a previous U.N. consensus—namely, that abortion is an issue of sovereignty. And they’re doing so in order to establish an entirely new and artificial international “consensus” via duplicitous manipulation of procedure.

The Geneva Consensus Declaration (GCD) (pdf), a document currently agreed upon by 36 nations from every region of the world, puts the focus on authentic women’s health gains, rejects the existence of an international “right” to abortion, and defends the sovereignty of nations that would choose to legislate in defense of strong families and strong protections for the unborn.

As leader of the Institute for Women’s Health, I endorse the GCD because such a coalition of nations is essential, precisely to defend the delivery and advancement of real women’s health care against false narratives that conflate ideology with health.

What’s more, opposition to the nonexistent “right to abortion” isn’t unique to global politics. Mainstream Americans don’t support the exportation of abortion or the establishment of completely unregulated abortion access. A marked majority support restrictions on abortion as such, and 73 percent oppose U.S. funding of abortions abroad—including 59 percent of those who identify as pro-choice.
That might explain why this current sweeping international pro-abortion power grab is being smuggled in under the guise of support for sexual violence survivors.

But it’s important for those excluded from closed-door negotiations to understand what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what implications we face.

First, pro-abortion activists are feverishly working to establish abortion as a recognized international “right.” Should they succeed, they would be in a position to characterize the U.S. Supreme Court, states, pregnancy resource centers, or any pro-life advocates as “human rights violators.”

Second, it would help activists override the sovereign right of nations to decide their own abortion policies. I suspect this recent resolution will be only one of many that will emerge with similar contentious and ideologically loaded language. If enough resolutions pass with this language, advocates aim to build what will amount to the back-door establishment of new customary international law. And I suspect this effort will only intensify at the 77th session of the U.N. General Assembly, taking place in New York this month, from Sept. 13 to 27.
The long-standing U.N. consensus, which maintains that abortion policy is, in fact, a national decision and one that should remain free of activist regimes, must be protected. Unfortunately, efforts led by nations of the global north, such as the United States under the Biden administration and the European Union, seek to decide that question for everyone else.

This pressure campaign is little-known and politically obscure to most Americans—and, indeed, it’s often purposefully obscured to nations involved in the negotiations. But it also has serious long-term implications for our domestic abortion policy decisions.

That’s why we must begin paying attention to the ways power is being used to manufacture human rights on a global scale. We need to watch carefully, lest the trajectory of world politics—and our own—be altered permanently, without our consent or knowledge.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Valerie Huber is the founder and president of the Institute for Women's Health. She previously served as the U.S. Special Representative for Global Women’s Health.
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