Led by Brazil and United States, anti-abortion agreement is signed in Washington with low adherence

Initiative attempts to block access to legal and safe abortions in signatory countries; only 32 States supported the document, which is not legally binding

Brazil and the United States announced on the afternoon of October 22, in Washington, the Geneva Consensus Declaration, an international alliance that aims to unite countries against the right to abortion. The initiative is co-sponsored by six countries and was supported by 26 others, such as Saudi Arabia, Belarus and South Sudan.

The agreement proposes an alleged defense of the family, but considers only the heteronormative model of union between men and women. The document also highlights the protection of life from conception and women’s right to health, but it rules out access to legal and safe abortion. The countries intend to ensure national sovereignty and share the commitment within the United Nations system.

The document does not have the status of an international treaty – meaning countries are not required to observe the text. However, the initiative illustrates the handling of Brazilian foreign policy on the subject of gender and could intensify Brazil’s role in breaking existing international consensuses.

According to Camila Asano, program director at Conectas, the speech at the event by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araújo, is not supported by the Brazilian Constitution. “When the minister says that countries have sovereignty to define and follow their legislations, he forgets that the government he represents is acting against Brazilian legislation, which provides for the right to health services for the termination of a pregnancy resulting from rape”.

Over the past few months, the Bolsonaro government has issued two versions of a ministerial order that limits access to legal abortions by girls and women who are victims of rape.

Find out more

Receive Conectas updates by email