In Senate confirmation hearings of Senator John Kerry (D-MA) on Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relaitions Chairman stated that if he was confirmed as the next Secretary of State, he would support the United States being a party to the United Nations Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This organization has been repeatedly used to advocate for abortions, as well as, oppose any restrictions to them and seek support globally for them.
The CEDAW treaty was signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, though it was never ratified by the Senate.
Kerry’s answer came in response to Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) question, “You have been a supporter of CEDAW before, the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. I know it’s a tough issue here. I don’t think it should be, but it is. I just want to make sure you continue to support the ratification.”
“The answer is yes,” Kerry answered. “And let me just say on that I look forward to meeting with the committee privately some time, hopefully down at the State Department, and we can talk about treaties and America’s interest, and I look forward to that.”
“Good, because I think there could be some reservations that we could agree on that could resolve some of the underlying current of disagreement here, which I think we should move forward on it,” Boxer said enthusiastically.
CNS News reports,
CEDAW defines discrimination against women as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”
Nations who are parties to the treaty have obligations that include, “to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;” “to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination;” and “to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises,” according to the U.N.
While Barack Obama said in 2008 that he would urge the Senate to ratify the treaty, it was in March of 2009 that the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) wrote a letter to all senators opposing CEDAW.
The NRLC wrote:
While the word “abortion” does not appear in the text of the CEDAW itself, this has proved to be of little significance. Article 12 asserts, “State Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.” Since about 1995, Article 12 and other provisions have been creatively interpreted by official bodies, ranging from the European Parliament to the U.N. CEDAW Committee, to condemn limitations on abortion, on grounds that any restrictions on abortion are per se discrimination against women.
The official U.N. CEDAW compliance committee has consistently exceeded its mandate. The committee has used CEDAW as the basis for criticizing at least 67 different U.N. member nations and pressuring them to weaken or repeal laws protecting unborn children. Among the targets of such criticisms by the CEDAW Committee have been Ireland (“The Committee is concerned that, with very limited exceptions, abortion remains illegal in Ireland”); Poland (in January 2007); Mexico (“The Committee recommends that all states of Mexico should review their legislation so that, where necessary, women are granted access to rapid and easy abortion”); and Portugal (“The Committee is concerned about the restrictive abortion laws in place in Portugal”).
Additionally the NRLC pointed out that “The CEDAW Committee also has explicitly held that nations should provide public funding of abortion, and even has criticized nations that have laws in place to allow medical professionals to opt out of providing abortions.” They cited CEDAW’s demands of Poland in 2007 “to ensure that women seeking legal abortion have access to it, and that their access is not limited by the use of the conscientious objection clause.” They then referenced the Committee’s call on Slovakia in 2008 to “regulate the invocation of conscientious objection by health professionals so as to ensure that women’s access to health and reproductive health is not limited.”
The letter went on to state, “Moreover, the CEDAW is now regularly cited as requiring abortion on demand by groups in pro-abortion lobbying efforts in various nations, and in legal arguments advanced by organizations such as the Center for Reproductive Rights. As the Center summarized the matter in its 2004 monograph, “Safe and Legal Abortion Is a Woman’s Human Right”: “[A]ccording to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, ‘discrimination against women’ includes laws that have either the ‘effect’ or the ‘purpose’ of preventing a woman from exercising any of her human rights or fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men. Laws that ban abortion have just that effect and that purpose.””
The NRLC’s letter also demonstrated legal ramifications of Supreme Court Justices citing the treaty though it has never been ratified. “Already, two justices of the U.S. Supreme Court (Justice Ginsberg, joined by Justice Breyer) have cited CEDAW to buttress a legal point, even though the Senate has never ratified CEDAW [Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 344-346 (2003)],” the letter reads. If the Senate ratifies CEDAW, litigants will employ CEDAW in future legal challenges to federal and state enactments that touch on abortion, and they are likely to find a greater number of jurists who will give legal weight to such arguments. It is noteworthy that in 2006 Colombia’s Constitutional Court relied in part on CEDAW to liberalize Colombia’s abortion law.”
There is much useful information regarding the CEDAW in the letter and worth reading to be informed about what it is and how it has teamed with the Center for Reproductive Rights, the organization that just released a utterly repulsive video to “celebrate” the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and subsequently the murders of millions of children in America.