Christian Medical Association lauds US signing of Geneva Consensus Declaration, stresses need to focus on consensus global health issues
Bristol, Tenn.—October 22, 2020—The nation's largest faith-based medical organization, the 20,000-member Christian Medical Association* (CMA, www.cmda.org), today heralded the signing of a multilateral agreement on consensus global health issues, following a signing ceremony cohosted by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
CMA Senior Vice President of Bioethics and Public Policy Dr. Jeffrey Barrows, an OB/Gyn, said, "The four pillars of the Geneva Consensus Declaration—improving women's health, preserving human life, strengthening the family and protecting national sovereignty—provide a noble framework for consensus global engagement on women's health issues.
"As an obstetrician, I especially appreciate the Declaration's dual emphasis on mother and child. The Declaration reaffirms both that 'motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance', and ‘the inherent dignity and worth of the human person.’ It also notes that 'the child… needs special safeguards and care… before as well as after birth' and that 'special measures of protection and assistance should be taken on behalf of all children,' based on the principle of the best interest of the child.'
"Countries must learn to work together on consensus global health issues rather than fight each other on ideological disagreements. Working together on consensus health issues, we can maximize our health resources and programs that will benefit all women while respecting the dignity of every person."
The Geneva statement reflects the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy of the United States.
CMA Director of Federal Government Relations Jonathan Imbody noted, "We appreciate the commitment of Secretaries Pompeo and Azar to achieving the goals outlined in the Geneva Consensus Declaration, and the vital work behind the scenes by many such as Valerie Huber, HHS's Special Representative for Global Women’s Health, that made this event possible.
"When surveyed on women's global health, our members serving in medical missions around the world have overwhelmingly agreed that 'Rather than advocating for abortion rights, the international health community, governments and international bodies should instead focus energy, time and resources on meeting women's health needs for which there is widespread agreement regarding strategies.'
"They also overwhelmingly agree with the statement, 'Abortion rights advocacy by some governments, world health and other international bodies is detracting attention and resources from women's health needs on which there is widespread agreement.'
"Instead, these medical missionaries say that efforts should focus on addressing solvable women's health issues such as maternal health, pregnancy complications, malaria and sexually transmitted diseases."
*The Christian Medical Association along with the Christian Dental Association forms the Christian Medical & Dental Associations.