Railroading Our Sovereignty

    The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW, passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and its supporters want the full Senate to ratify it before the November elections. Because our treaties become the law of the land, CEDAW poses a threat to American sovereignty and must be defeated. Countries that sign CEDAW are "legally bound to put its provisions into practice." And CEDAW has an operating committee that spells out what that means for each country. The committee has ordered nations to legalize prostitution, abolish laws hindering access to abortion, implement gender quotas for public office, expand gay rights, and monitor family life. Further, CEDAW has been cited "as an authority" in legal cases around the world, as it has been in a recent civil lawsuit in Brazil. As Senator George Allen recently noted, CEDAW "could be used for litigation in this country." "Could be"? It turns out the American Bar Association is already headed down that road. Recently, the ABA released The CEDAW Assessment Tool to educate legal professionals about "CEDAW's precedence over national law." Let me repeat that: "CEDAW's precedence over national law." With the Senate already rejecting capable judges -- like Judge Pickering -- because senators don't like their views, and with activist judges issuing outrageous rulings -- like striking "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance -- CEDAW and the ABA document will only add fuel to an already raging fire. Judges may use CEDAW to nullify laws they find discriminatory, like state parental notification and consent laws governing abortions for minors. How? Courts could simply declare them unconstitutional because they violate CEDAW. The ABA intends its "assessment tool" to focus on "'real-life' impediments to equality ... [that] may ... be rooted in deep-seated cultural or religious traditions." Moreover, says the report, CEDAW and the ABA's application are to be used by non-governmental organizations "working actively to promote gender equality in a particular country," including "countries that have not ratified CEDAW." The elasticity of the treaty's language renders its power virtually limitless. Violations of CEDAW are determined on the whim of the CEDAW committee members' interpretations. And the ABA report recommends judges and lawyers follow the CEDAW committee in virtual lock-step fashion. No one denies that there are real abuses against women in the world, but CEDAW isn't the answer. As President Thomas Jefferson wrote, "If the treaty making power is boundless, we have no Constitution." As one observer has commented, "American women are the freest, the most prosperous, the most educated, have the most options of any women in any country in history. We don't need the United Nations telling us what we need to do or think. And we don't want our political leaders to rewrite the founding documents to fit a feminist agenda." Call your senators. Urge them: Vote NO on CEDAW. America must lead by example, not by ratifying this dangerous treaty. Take action: Call your senators and urge them NOT to ratify CEDAW -- say "No to CEDAW." The Capitol Switchboard number is 202-224-3121. They may be in their home offices now -- some are campaigning for re-election: Please call or visit their state and/or campaign offices and urge them to vote NO on CEDAW. Find a list of the senators and their contact information on this page. For more information: Get BreakPoint's "CEDAW Fact Sheet" by calling 1-800-995-8777 or visit BreakPoint Online. BreakPoint commentary no. 020903, "The Teeth and Claws of CEDAW." "IWF Warns Senate of New CEDAW Evidence: Treaty Aims to Override National Sovereignty," Independent Women's Forum press release, 23 July 2002. The CEDAW Assessment Tool, American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative (The Rights Consortium, Funded by USAID: January 2002). (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.) George Archibald, "Bar association urges U.S. to ratify women's rights pact," Washington Times, 11 August 2002. Janice Shaw Crouse, " Prevailing perils of CEDAW," Washington Times, 7 August 2002. Thomas L. Jipping, " Hiding the liberal image,", 16 August 2002.


Chuck Colson


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