September 24, 2019 - Tuesday
A Countries Club for Life
September 24, 2019
In a sharp contrast to the administration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, President Donald Trump is leading an unprecedented effort to challenge the United Nations to "protect the unborn and defend the family as the foundational unit of society." Little by little, this administration has been able to mop up the mess that Obama made of America's priorities on the international stage. But retaking the pro-life ground the 44th president abandoned in his eight-year infomercial for abortion extremism hasn't been easy. Fortunately, Donald Trump has a cabinet of leaders who don't know the meaning of the word quit.
It's not every day that Secretary Alex Azar makes a trip to the U.N. General Assembly. So Monday, he made it count. As part of a two-month effort to bring some common sense back into the international conversation, he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tag-teamed on a quiet push to get the world on board with Donald Trump's pro-life agenda. Since mid-summer, the duo has been circulating a letter that would rebuild some of the ground lost to this global march toward "reproductive rights."
"...[W]e respectfully request that your government join the United States in ensuring that every sovereign state has the ability to determine the best way to protect the unborn and defend the family as the foundational unity of society vital to children thriving and leading healthy lives," the two secretaries ask their global neighbors. We remain gravely concerned that aggressive efforts to reinterpret international instruments to create a new international right to abortion and to promote international policies that weaken the family have advanced through some United Nations fora."
They call on the signers to encourage other countries to "join this growing coalition to push back against harmful efforts to interpret long-standing international instruments as requiring anti-family and pro-abortion policies and to promote proactive positions that will protect families and strengthen the health of all people."
During Monday's U.N. session, while other heads of state focused on saving the environment, the Trump administration, in addition to advancing international religious freedom, took the opportunity to remind the world who they're saving it for. Together with 20 other countries (representing 1.3 billion people), everyone from Brazil to Iraq agreed with Azar that their nations were all united on a "positive, constructive goal: focusing the international discourse around healthcare on better health and on the preservation of human life... That is the goal of my work in the American health care system under President Trump, and that is the goal President Trump believes in working toward on the world stage."
Calling out the groups who hide their agendas under labels like "women's health" or "reproductive rights," the countries make it quite clear: "We do not support references to ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive health and rights in U.N. documents, because they can undermine the critical role of the family and promote practices, like abortion, in circumstances that do not enjoy international consensus and which can be misinterpreted by U.N. agencies... There is no international right to an abortion and these terms should not be used to promote pro-abortion policies and measures."
Naturally, the world's rabid activists -- the ones who call America's pro-life foreign policy "torture" and "extremist hate" -- are furious. Shannon Kowalski, part of the International Women's Health Coalition, lashed out.
"The United States is isolated," she claimed, completely disregarding the collection of countries on the letter. "Their position is extreme." Well, if protecting life is "extreme," (and the polls would beg to differ) then aren't we all glad we have an administration that doesn't care about what's popular? To President Trump, this isn't about being part of some international clique. It's about doing what's right. And since Day 1, this White House has tried to do exactly that when it comes to advancing the most basic of human rights -- life.
For an up-close look at the U.N. meeting -- and President Trump's historic speech on religious liberty -- don't miss my interview from New York on Monday's "Washington Watch."
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.