Protecting Life in Global Health Policy (PLGHP)
President Trump defends human life and warns the UN to stay within its mandate during the 2019 UN General Assembly Speech September 24, 2019, stating: "Americans will never tire of defending innocent life. We are aware that many United Nations projects have attempted to assert a global right to taxpayer funded abortion on demand, right up until the moment of delivery. Global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life. Like many nations here today, we in America believe that every child, born and unborn, is a sacred gift from God."
What is PLGHP?
The Protecting Life in Global Health Policy (PLGHP) initiative negotiates health policy at multilateral settings where policies are debated and set, like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN). PLGHP focuses the international discourse around four main pillars, building coalitions to achieve: (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 national sovereignty in global politics.1
1. Better Health for Women
The initiative strongly supports women reaching the highest attainable outcomes for health, life, dignity, and well-being throughout their lives. This includes, but is not limited to health concerns across a woman's lifespan, including reproductive concerns, maternal health, voluntary and informed family planning, and the eradication of HIV; as well as equal opportunities for women, elimination of human trafficking and violence against women and girls, and all other discrimination on the basis of sex.
2. Preservation of Human Life
There is no international human right to abortion. There is, however, an international human right to life.2 We do not accept the active promotion of abortion within any multilateral health guidance or policy. In no case should abortion be endorsed as a method of family planning.3 We affirm the key foundational principle of the ICPD Program of Action that "[e]veryone has the right to life, liberty and security of person," which we understand to include life before birth.4
3. Strengthening Family
President Trump called the family the bedrock of the Nation, saying that strong and loving families are one of life's greatest blessings. Families develop character, teach love and forgiveness, and parents are the most important protectors, providers, nourishers, teachers, and role models for their children. Protecting and defending the family to create a system that maximizes parents' opportunities – without interfering with personal family decisions – is a vitally important goal that will benefit society as a whole. These priorities – championing life and working families, communicating the value we put on families as the foundational unit of society, and recognizing the intrinsic worth of every person – are family-centered policies that are good for nations both now and in the future. We affirm the key foundational principle of the ICPD Program of Action, that "[t]he family is the basic unit of society and as such should be strengthened."5
4. Protection of National Sovereignty
The PLGHP initiative recognizes the importance of each nation's freedom to legislate around issues related to the protection of life or abortion without pressure from multilateral organizations – and to speak freely about their country's position during multilateral negotiations without threat of retribution. Additionally, we do not support references in international documents to ambiguous terms and expressions used to promote policies that do not enjoy international consensus. As President Trump has stated, "Global bureaucrats have no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that protect innocent life."6 Multilateral organizations should not use their power and influence to pressure any country to include or exclude abortion in their national policies.
PLGHP Documents and Events
In alignment with PLGHP aims, Secretary Azar (HHS) and Secretary Pompeo (State Dept) sent a joint letter to other countries inviting partnership on this initiative; and the U.S. drafted three joint statements, signed by 25 countries representing more than a billion people:
- Joint Statement on Women's, Adolescent, and Children's Health, World Health Assembly, May 2019
- Joint Letter from Secretaries Azar and Pompeo on International Partnerships, July 2019
- Joint Statement on Universal Health Coverage, UN General Assembly, September 2019
- Joint Statement on the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, International Conference on Population and Development, November 2019
The United States also hosted events in alignment with the PLGHP project:
Secretary Azar addresses ambassadors and high level officials at the Blair House Diplomatic Reception as guest speakers – Hungarian Minister of State for Family, Youth, and International Affairs Katalin Novak and Brazilian Deputy Chief of Mission Fernando Pimentel – look on.
- White House Proclamation, President Trump Proclaims January 22 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2018
- Remarks by President Trump, 45th Annual March for Life, 2018
- White House Proclamation, National Sanctity of Human Life Day 2019
- White House Proclamation, National Sanctity of Human Life Day 2020
- Remarks by President Trump, 47th Annual March for Life, 2020
- 1. PLGHP is a sister initiative to the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) program, a global expansion of the Mexico City Policy which ensures "that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-memorandum-regarding-mexico-city-policy/.
- 2. Article 3, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 6, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; United Nations Human Rights Council; https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Executions/Pages/InternationalStandards.aspx
- 3. International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action, paragraph 8.25; https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/programme_of_action_Web%20ENGLISH.pdf
- 4. ICPD Principles 1
- 5. ICPD Principles 9
- 6. President Trump, 47th Annual March for Life; https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-47th-annual-march-life/