On Thursday, Oct. 22, less than two weeks before an election that could bring the Trump administration to a close, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar are scheduled to join Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda in sponsoring a virtual ceremony to sign the “Geneva Consensus Declaration,” reports the Independent, which notes that, other than the U.S., the sponsoring nations involved “have strict laws on both abortion and same-sex or ban each entirely.”
The HHS announcement of the event says the declaration “further strengthens a coalition to achieve these four pillars: (1) better health for women, (2) the preservation of human life, (3) strengthening of family as the foundational unit of society, and (4) protecting every nation’s sovereignty in global politics.”
The event appears to be a culmination of Pompeo’s intensive efforts to build opposition to any international recognition of a right to reproductive choice—and his zeal to undermine international recognition of the rights of LGBTQ people while celebrating governmental enforcement of “traditional” religious values on gender, sexuality, and family.
Pompeo and Azar have been working for at least a year and a half to create a new international anti-choice and anti-equality coalition. On Jan. 16, in a closed-door meeting at Blair House, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar addressed representatives of 35 countries, one in a series of meetings held since the previous May.
“Together, we built a pro-life, pro-family, pro-sovereignty coalition that is a force to be reckoned with,” Azar declared of the 2019 organizing efforts. But, he added, “our informal coalition needs to grow and be more active.”