U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar joined representatives from Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda Thursday in a virtual ceremony to launch the “Geneva Consensus Declaration on Promoting Women’s Health and Strengthening the Family.”
During the Obama administration, U.S. foreign policy supported reproductive rights and LGBTQ equality, while resistance and backlash to those principles were being led by religious-right advocacy groups, often in partnership with the world’s most repressive regimes. But during the Trump administration, the U.S. government has been mobilizing the reactionary forces. Pompeo and Azar have been working for at least a year and a half to mobilize Thursday’s signing of the Geneva Consensus.
The anti-abortion and anti-choice language of the declaration is explicit while wrapped in broad language about supporting women’s health. It draws language from other international agreements about the need to provide children with “special measures of protection” and “safeguards … before as well as after birth.” Speakers from the sponsoring nations all insisted that they would oppose any effort by any United Nations body to assert that access to abortion is recognized in international human rights law. Pompeo praised the Trump administration’s “unprecedented defense of the unborn abroad” and said he hoped that the declaration’s “moral clarity” will embolden others.
The anti-LGBTQ agenda of the coalition is less explicit in the language of the declaration itself—which draws on language from the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights to reaffirm that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.” But Hungary’s Minister of State for Family, Youth and International Affairs Katalin Novák was more explicit, denouncing international forces that she charged were trying to “weaken the traditional family” through a “culture of indoctrination and preaching” at the U.N. and the promotion of “gender ideology,” “ideological neocolonialism,” and sex education.
Novák said that the right-wing anti-LGBTQ governments of Hungary and Poland are playing a leading role in promoting and strengthening the “traditional family.” Uganda’s health minister, Jane Aceng, criticized international pressure to support policies that “may be contrary to our values” and called for “due respect for our values and sovereignty.”
Notably, the document affirms that “universal health coverage is fundamental” in achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals while recognizing that governments will “determine their own path towards achieving universal health coverage”—in the U.S., that path seems headed in the opposite direction as the Trump administration urges the Supreme Court to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and strip health care coverage from millions of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
18 Months in the Making: Pompeo and Azar Organizing at the United Nations
The Geneva Consensus Declaration event was a culmination of the Trump administration’s intensive efforts to build opposition to any international recognition of a right to abortion—and Pompeo and Azar’s zeal to undermine international recognition of the rights of LGBTQ people while celebrating governmental enforcement of “traditional” religious values on gender, sexuality, and family. They’ve been working on developing this new coalition for about a year and a half.
Last July, Pompeo and Azar sent a letter to foreign governments asking them to “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 unit of society vital to children thriving and leading healthy lives.” The letter warned that “ambiguous” terms like “sexual and reproductive health and rights” are associated with “anti-family and pro-abortion policies.” The July letter built on a statement distributed in May by the governments of the U.S., Brazil, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Haiti, Ghana, Nigeria, and Iraq making the same argument. Since then, the U.S. has been working to expand this coalition.
In September 2019, on the eve of Trump’s address to the U.N. General Assembly, Azar released a similar statement, this one endorsed by a larger number of nations: United States of America, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of the Congo, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Just a month later, the U.S. issued a statement arguing that governments could better worktogether to improve access to health care if they avoided “divisive” topics. “The United States firmly believes that we can do more for people by coming together on those broad areas of agreement on which we can achieve genuine progress, rather than pursuing divisive policies that promote abortion, diminish the role of the family, and compromise the sovereignty of nations by focusing on sensitive issues where we know consensus is not possible,” the U.S. statement said in part.
Comprehensive sex education, a target of the World Congress of Families and right-wing culture warriors around the globe, was also singled out by the U.S. government. “We remain deeply concerned that comprehensive sexuality education programs undermine the protective role of the family in such education and condone harmful sexual risks for young people,” the U.S. statement said. “We continue to be a stalwart defender of all women, men, children, and families and support programs to improve their health, life, dignity, and well-being.”
The Trump team’s organizing continued with a November session and statement released during the Nairobi Summit on the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, which was first held in Cairo in 1994. And in December, the Department of Health and Human Services and the governments of Hungary and Brazil sponsored an “International Conference on Family Policy” that was attended by White House domestic policy director Joe Grogan. The event also featured anti-choice and anti-marriage-equality activists from the U.S. religious right.
In December, Hungary and Brazil cosponsored a public gathering at which HHS Special Representative for Global Women’s Health Valerie Huber—an abstinence education advocate—thanked countries that have demonstrated “political will” and “moral courage” and acted to “preserve our countries and this civilization as it should be.” Azar singled out Huber for praise at Thursday’s ceremony.
This year, on Jan. 16, Azar addressed a closed-door meeting of 35 nations at Blair House, on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. “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.”
Joining Azar in January were Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and representatives of two authoritarian leaders compared to and praised by President Donald Trump: Hungary’s Novák and Brazil’s deputy chief of mission] in Washington, Minister-Counselor Fernando Pimentel. Azar also read a letter from Uganda’s Aceng, whom Azar called “one of our strongest and most reliable partners.”
At that event, Azar encouraged countries to continue to build momentum by attending “an upcoming global women’s health conference” in Geneva, Switzerland, in May, just before the start of the World Health Assembly. That is where the consensus declaration was to be finalized, but COVID-19 derailed that gathering. Presumably with an eye on the U.S. elections, sponsors decided to push forward with the release of the statement before the group meets next year.
All this official business builds on the work being done by an extensive network of religious-right legal and political groups. Hungary’s Novák has met with representatives of the Alliance Defending Freedom, the religious-right legal giant that opposes LGBTQ equality in the U.S. and has defended criminalization of homosexuality in other countries. “We agree that there is a great need for closer cooperation among international pro-family stakeholders in defending #family values,” Novák tweeted last November.
C-FAM, which works relentlessly to promote anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ policies at the U.N., cheered Azar’s January remarks. And C-FAM’s Austin Ruse, was quick to put out a statement Thursday “heartily” congratulating the Trump administration and the 32 nations that have signed the new declaration.
This article was originally published at Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission
Image: Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar participate in signing ceremony of the Geneva Consensus Declaration. State Department photo by Ron Przysucha via Flickr
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Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’
Herschel Walker is now suggesting the souls of Georgians are in the balance, and if they don’t elect him to the U.S Senate they will not even “have a chance to be redeemed,” a Christian religious belief about being delivered from sin by God. Walker is also suggesting his right-wing son, who turned against him this week after reports he paid for an abortion, is a member of “the left.”
Appearing on Fox News Wednesday, Walker told host Brian Kilmeade, “If we vote for the people on the left, like the guy I’m running against,” Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, “you’re not going to have a chance to be redeemed. He’s a minister and he don’t believe in redemption.”
“Right now, they’re trying to destroy America, they’re trying to destroy Georgia. It ain’t gonna happen on my watch,” the Trump-endorsed GOP nominee said.
Kilmeade asked the embattled Senate GOP candidate why his son, Christian Walker, is “doing tremendous damage to you.”
Walker served up a confusing claim, suggesting his popular right wing social media influencer son is actually a liberal.
“Well, the damage he’s doing is letting people know that the left will do whatever they can to win the seat.”
“I told you when I got into this race, I’m gonna win this seat,” Walker continued, as he played the religion card. “People see someone seated here in front of you right now that have been redeemed. And I want America to know, I’m living proof that you can make mistakes and get up and keep going forward. But you can only do it in this country right here. But you can only do it, if we get this election correct this coming November.”
Christian Walker, once his top supporter, this week blasted his father in several online videos and tweets after The Daily Beast reported the former NFL star turned Trump-endorsed MAGA politician had paid for an abortion for one of his girlfriends.
Kilmeade asked Walker if his son’s allegations – including forcing him and his mother to move to six different homes in six months, going out and sleeping with other women, and never being home to raise his own son – were true.
Walker never answered, instead, telling Fox News viewers he loves is son “unconditionally,” as Fox News repeatedly play a clip of Walker giving his son a hug and kiss at an event.
In a video posted to twitter Tuesday, Christian Walker blasted his father, saying, “I stayed silent as the atrocities committed against my mom were downplayed, I stayed silent when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker, had all these random kids across the country, none of whom he raised.”
“And you know, my favorite issue to talk about is father absence – surprise – ’cause it affected me. That’s why I talk about it all the time, because it affected me.”
“You have no idea what I’ve been through in my life,” Christian Walker added. “You have no idea what me and my mom have survived. We could have ended this on day one. We haven’t. I haven’t told any stories. I’m just saying don’t lie. Don’t lie on my mom. Don’t lie on me. Don’t lie on the lives you’ve destroyed and act like you’re some moral family man. Y’all should care about that, conservatives.”
“Family Values people: He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them,” Walker said about his father Herschel. “He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values? I was silent lie after lie after lie. The abortion card drops yesterday – it’s literally his handwriting in the card. They say they have receipts, whatever. He gets on Twitter, he likes about it. Okay, I’m done.”
Watch Herschel Walker’s Fox News interview below or at this link.
Herschel Walker again serves up a word salad but seems to imply his son, who is a far right social media commentator, is part of “the left.” pic.twitter.com/VAD1icdEHO
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 5, 2022
Experts Sound Alarm as ‘Urgent and Heated’ Threats of Civil War Ramp Up Before Midterm Election
According to a report from the New York Times, analysts and experts who follow online trends with regard to threats of political violence are warning the U.S. is moving into dangerous territory as the 2022 midterm election day grows closer.
As the Times’ Ken Bensinger and Sheera Frenkel wrote, there have been upticks in calls for a civil war since the FBI initiated a search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort seeking stolen government documents and then again when President Joe Biden called the former president and “MAGA Republicans” a threat to “the very foundations of our republic.”
Following the Mar-a-Lago search, “civil war’ talk on conservative social media platforms more than doubled and now “experts are bracing for renewed discussions of civil war, as the Nov. 8 midterm elections approach and political talk grows more urgent and heated.”
“Polling, social media studies and a rise in threats suggest that a growing number of Americans are anticipating, or even welcoming, the possibility of sustained political violence, researchers studying extremism say. What was once the subject of serious discussion only on the political periphery has migrated closer to the mainstream,” the report states before adding, “Social media platforms are rife with groups and boards dedicated to discussions of civil war. One, on Gab, describes itself as a place for ‘action reports,’ ‘combat vids’ and reports of killed in action in ‘the civil war that is also looking to be a 2nd American Revolution.'”
According to Robert Pape, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, “What you’re seeing is a narrative that was limited to the fringe going into the mainstream.”
Kurt Braddock, an American University professor who studies the recruitment techniques of fringe groups claimed the former president is not helping matters.
“Ideas go into echo chambers and it’s the only voice that’s heard; there are no voices of dissent,” he explained before warning, “The statements Trump makes are not overt calls to action, but when you have a huge and devoted following, the chances that one or more people are activated by that are high.”
You can read more here.
Top Anti-Abortion Lobbying Org Doubles Down to Support ‘Pro-Life’ Herschel Walker Despite Report and Son’s Allegations
The top anti-abortion lobbying group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, doubling down in their support for Herschel Walker, the GOP’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, despite a damning report in the media and allegations from Walker’s own son.
Overnight The Daily Beast reported Walker, who claims to be against all abortion, paid for an abortion for his girlfriend. Walker has attacked U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, his Democratic opponent, over abortion, drumming up falsehoods like saying Warnock, a Christian pastor who is pro-choice, “relished a woman killing her baby.”
Montage of Herschel Walker’s anti-abortion statements. pic.twitter.com/4JxZ3N0OyK
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) October 4, 2022
Walker’s own son, Christian Walker, who has been a steadfast supporter publicly of his father’s candidacy, revealed overnight and Tuesday morning that his father has committed “atrocities” against their family, caused his mother and him to move six times in six months, and was an absentee father despite attacking Black men in general for that very same behavior.
Now, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, once called the Susan B. Anthony List, is standing by Walker despite his reported abortion actions.
Axios’ Alexi McCammond says they asked SBA Pro-Life America if the anti-abortion lobbying organization still supported Walker.
“Hershel Walker has denied these allegations in the strongest possible terms and we stand firmly alongside him,” SBA spokesperson Mallory Carroll told McCammond.
“She added that their GA field team ‘has visited more than 310,000 homes across the state in support of pro-life candidates like Herschel and against the extremism of Sen. Warnock and Stacy Abrams, and we will continue through Election Day,'” McCammond reports.
Congratulations @TeamHerschel!Between now and November we will work tirelessly to expose extremists like Sen. Warnock and send pro-life champions like Herschel to Washington! #IVoteProLife #gapolitics https://t.co/E1j78IUopd pic.twitter.com/RqPRfleH26
— SBA Pro-Life America | 72% 🇺🇸 support 15 weeks (@sbaprolife) May 25, 2022
In January of 2020 Right Wing Watch reported the “Susan B. Anthony List and its Women Speak Out super PAC are launching a $52 million campaign effort on behalf of [re-electing] Trump and Republican senators.”
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