It's Back - CEDAW Treaty proponents prepare to bring it back to Senate floor

Commentary from The Liberty Committee

August 28, 2002 - Underhanded politicians and lobbyists in Washington often sneak controversial legislation through Congress when the public is highly focused on other issues, such as Iraq. 

These professional politicos are preparing to make their move to have the U.S. Senate quietly pass an extremely controversial treaty: the United Nations "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). 

Just before the U.S. Senate adjourned for its August recess, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 12-7 along strict party lines to report CEDAW to the full Senate for a vote. This action was led by committee chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) and committee member Barbara Boxer (D-CA). 

According to the Senate Republican Policy Committee, "CEDAW -- the 'Rip Van Winkle' treaty -- was first submitted to the Senate by President Carter in 1980, but it lay dormant for 14 years. 

In 1994, President Clinton sought Senate action on CEDAW, yet the treaty was too divisive to reach the Senate floor. In fact, in its 22-year history, the treaty has never come to a full vote. 

Why? Because this treaty has serious problems." Problems such as ...

1. forcing the U.S. to rewrite national and state laws to conform to United Nations social engineering; 

2. undermining U.S. sovereignty; 

3. turning lose on America a team of 23 U.N. "inspectors" who will use "numerical equivalence" (read quotas) to judge; U.S. compliance with this U.N. edict; and, 

4. forcing women into front-line combat. 

The socialist, world-government fanatics believe they have waited long enough to get CEDAW passed by the U.S. Senate. They are poised to make their move while the public is focused on Iraq. 

We, however, are watching CEDAW very closely and with your help, are preparing to shine a 10,000-candle spotlight on the sneaky pro-CEDAW fringe hiding in the shadows. 

Don't take action just yet. Be prepared to contact your two U.S. senators very soon -- probably next week. 

When the time comes, we must act in unison and with very little notice. A few of the best articles and commentaries exposing CEDAW can be found at  (One of those articles follows):

Let Cedaw Die - The battle of the sexes doesn't need a treaty

Wall Street Journal

Thursday, August 1, 2002 12:01 a.m.

Just when you thought all those old, tired, cranky feminists of the 1970s had crawled back into their gender-neutral homes to leave us in peace, wham! There they are, right back in your face. And depressingly enough, they are still going on about the same piece of paper they were decades ago.

That piece of paper is the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW. CEDAW first came into being some 23 years ago, and President Carter hastened to sign it in 1980, but for very good reasons no U.S. Senate had ever been willing to ratify it. Earlier this week, Sen. Joe Biden squeaked it through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a 12-7 vote. He is now promising a floor vote, though supporters say they're at least three votes shy of the 67 senators required to ratify a treaty.

On its face, CEDAW seems a relatively benign United Nations wish list. Its promoters have been careful to present it as nothing more than an attempt to "end discrimination against women." But once you get a closer look at the fine print, CEDAW becomes scarier than a National Organization of Women convention.

The treaty defines discrimination as "any distinction . . . on the basis of sex." The goal, says the treaty, is to "modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women with a view to achieving the elimination of . . . all . . . practices which are based on . . . stereotyped roles for men and women." The way we should do this is through nationwide re-education, or as CEDAW puts it, "the revision of textbooks and school programs and the adaptation of teaching methods."

The U.N. bureaucrats who administer CEDAW have already made it clear that they intend to interpret these maxims in the most feminist way possible. A report it did on Belarus took that country to task for creating a national "Mother's Day," seeing as how it perpetuated "sex-role stereotypes." Slovenia gets a thwacking because only 30% of its toddlers are in institutional day care. The rest are--horror of horrors--saddling down their mothers at home, keeping them scaling the heights of corporate Slovenia.

China gets low marks because it hasn't legalized prostitution. Croatia takes it on the chin because of its freedom-of-conscience law for doctors. "The refusal, by some hospitals, to provide abortions on the basis of conscientious objection of doctors [constitutes] an infringement of women's reproductive rights," read one report.

The problem with CEDAW is that it isn't advancing rights in any way. True liberty comes when women are free to choose to go to work or to stay at home with kids, to celebrate a Mother's Day or not, to be a reasonable and pleasant person or to be a feminist. CEDAW would instead force a controversial set of values and causes--enforced day care, abortion, the notion that there are no differences between the sexes--on women everywhere.

That is, if it worked. Which it doesn't. CEDAW has been going strong world-wide for some time now, with what results? Pakistan ratified CEDAW in 1996. That's the country where in June, 26-year-old Naseem Mai drank a bottle of pesticide after local authorities wouldn't arrest the men who raped her. Saudi Arabia became a party to the treaty in 2000. That's the country that doesn't allow women to work, drive, show their faces in public or leave the country without the permission of their father or husband.

Of course, there has been one brilliant example of a revolution in women's rights: Afghanistan. And guess what? It wasn't accomplished by a 20,000-page CEDAW report on how Afghan women should have access to better burkhas. It happened when the U.S. went in and blew up the misogynist mullahs running the place. Today, women no longer have to walk around with canvas sacks on their heads, but can once again work and serve in government (and only, we might add, if they want to). U.S. 1,

CEDAW advocates have become so desperate to get it signed that they have taken to reassuring people that it won't really do much. The Boston Globe's Ellen Goodman wrote a plaintive column last month explaining that we ought to just sign it because "this international agreement can't trump national law." But that clearly isn't the view of the Justice Department, which also sent a letter to Mr. Biden expressing its concerns over just that issue.

That, of course, is the nub of the matter. The creaking women's rights groups long ago lost their bid to turn the U.S. into a modern-day Amazonia. The Equal Rights Amendment thankfully died, and today's women are so comfortable with their opportunities that huge numbers are choosing to revel in girliness and mommyhood. And so the feminist groups have turned to international bodies, hoping to force on the U.S. through a treaty what the country would not choose for itself through law or culture.

Which is why the Bush Administration needs to quit waffling and serve notice to the Senate that it won't play this game. Up until now, the administration has voiced only mild disapproval. Secretary of State Colin Powell sent a letter to Mr. Biden explaining the White House had concerns with the vagueness of CEDAW's text, and asking the Senate to hold off a vote. Mr. Powell also gently suggested to the senator that with 17 other urgent, high-priority treaties awaiting ratification--including such minor things as strategic arms reduction--that he might get his priorities in order. Mr. Biden's response was to move ahead anyway. He's now twisting the arms of moderate Republicans. Two GOP senators, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Gordon Smith of Oregon, joined the 10 Democrats supporting the committee's vote.

Thankfully, a treaty needs both the Senate's approval and a president's signature. President Carter signed it in 1980, but every Senate since then has had the smarts to let it lie. If it appears that the Senate is on the verge of ratifying it, Mr. Bush should promptly withdraw America's signature, as he did earlier this year with the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court. Not only would CEDAW do nothing to accomplish better lives for women in undemocratic countries, but it would force upon America a militant feminist vision that the country long ago rejected.

Ms. Strassel is an editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal. Her column appears on alternate Thursdays.

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