A group is distributing labels to stick on notebooks and backpacks at the meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York. The CSW is commemorating the 10th anniversary of the historic conference on women held in Beijing in 1995, and the name of the labels’ sponsor?Beijing and Beyond?indicates a continued passion for the documents that came out of that conference. The labels feature a huge eye in the left corner underscored by this slogan: “The Women of the World are Watching.” The center of the labels features a demand — “Reaffirm the Platform” — or a question — “What will we do about the U.S.?”
“What to do about the U.S.?” is quickly becoming the question driving Beijing +10. The United States delegation is continuing to frustrate radical feminists by resisting the Far Left agenda that the United Nations has been aggressively promoting worldwide since the First World Conference on Women in Mexico City in 1975.
The United States has introduced a statement for the working draft of the Beijing +10 Declaration that is causing an uproar. The U.S. asks delegates to “reaffirm that [the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (PFA)] do not create any new international human rights and that they do not include the right to abortion.”
Why is this statement so controversial?
Imagine 8,000 people crowding into the U.N.’s New York headquarters, and at least 7,000 of them are pro-abortion. Support is overwhelming for a statement coming out of the late Bella Abzug’s organization, the Women’s Economic Development Organization (WEDO): “Beijing’s been betrayed!” Indeed, feelings about abortion run so strong that there are rumors that, once again, there’s a risk of a CSW ending without consensus.
(The first and only time a CSW ended without consensus was in 2003 when the conference could not agree with the U.S. position that prostitution is inherently harmful to women. President Bush appointed me as a U.S. delegate that year when we fought the radicals to a standstill.)
The Left has used the Beijing outcome documents — which are technically “non-binding agreements” — to promote abortion around the world. Radical feminists have blatantly distorted the intent and reality of the Beijing PFA to say that a woman’s “right” to an abortion is a basic human right, as delineated in Beijing, the Cairo +5 conference and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Thanks to the outstanding work of the Nongovernment Organization (NGO) Pro-Life/Pro-Family Coalition (including Concerned Women for America) working at the U.N., we have inside information from various NGOs that are seeking to change abortion laws around the world.
Abortion-rights proponents see Beijing +10 as possibly their last opportunity to seal the PFA against a rising tide of conservative opposition; they want U.N. documents to overrule national sovereignty to establish the right to abortion as an international human right. The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [formerly the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP)] spelled out its goals in a 2001 lawsuit. Its strategy is to turn abortion into a “human right” by a process whereby various international treaties use the same language and nations accept that language as binding. This becomes a legal norm that, over time, becomes “customary international law.”
Thus, even though nobody voted on the “law” and obfuscation surrounds the process of establishing the so-called “right” in individual nations, all member nations are expected to adhere to a policy that has become binding simply because some special interest group rammed language into some obscure treaty at the United Nations.
Those same special interest groups are also using the U.S.’s principled stands as a means of stirring up international anger against our country. The goal is to use opposition to the United States’ pro-life position in order to legalize abortion around the world. Not only is this goal abhorrent, it is even more despicable (if possible) because it denies freedom of choice.
The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) has published a manual advocating the use of language in international U.N. documents to establish the right to an abortion – even though the cited documents do not explicitly assert it.
It is ironic that these despots who seek to force nations to accept their agenda mask their intent under the mantra of “choice.”
They underhandedly manipulate language at international conferences to establish “laws” that would never pass if put up for a vote among people of the affected nations. That is the mode of operation for those who seek to impose their views on others. But then, those who believe that they are “elites” have always thought that they know what is best for the “masses.”
Sadly, while these privileged few scheme at the United Nations for so-called “women’s rights,” women around the world are left needing basic health care, safe water, decent housing, personal safety, educational and economic opportunity, political empowerment and freedom.
Janice Crouse and Wendy Wright are NGO participants representing Concerned Women for America at the United Nations for the Commission on the Status of Women, where Beijing +10 is being commemorated.