The Stalking Horse Named CEDAW

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In ancient times, the men who hunted birds were called “fowlers.” One method they used was to hide behind their horses until they got close enough to capture their prey. That’s where we get our phrase, “stalking horse.” The horse out front is meant to deceive — behind it lurks an unseen threat. Today, there are yet fowlers among us.

The main “fowler” this year is the Obama Administration. They are hiding behind a stalking horse named CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This treaty went un-ratified for 20 years until then-Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) resurrected it [just before the November 2002 elections] in order to position themselves as the benefactors of women and make those who oppose the treaty seem callous and indifferent to the needs of women.

Before CEDAW passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a 12-7 vote, then-Sen. Biden (as chairman at the time) accused those who opposed the treaty of being “irrational” and said that “everyone’s going to be counted on where they stand on this treaty before the next year’s out.” Indeed, Sen. Boxer, then the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, got to the bottom line — CEDAW is central to the liberals’ agenda and to their reelection. Boxer urged CEDAW supporters to actively oppose the reelection of any senator who was not both pro-abortion and a supporter of the treaty.

The treaty was never debated in the Senate, and from 2002 to 2008 the treaty stalled between the committee and the State Department, which needed to review the Reservations, Understandings and Declarations (RUDs) the U.S. has in regard to CEDAW.

In December 2009, the U.S. State Department issued a statement that said in part, “President Obama’s Administration views CEDAW as a powerful tool for making gender equality a reality. We are committed to U.S. ratification of the Convention and look forward to joining the countries that have adopted it as a central part of their efforts to ensure that human rights are enjoyed fully and equally by all people.” That same day, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said, “The Obama Administration strongly supports this landmark treaty, and is committed to United States ratification.”

Currently, the U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing CEDAW and the RUDs to determine whether it should be referred to the Senate with or without the RUDs. If it is submitted to the Senate by Secretary of State Clinton, it will first go to the Foreign Relations subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women’s Issues, chaired by Senator Boxer and then on to the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts). The treaty needs 67 votes in the Senate to be ratified.

It is important for those who oppose the treaty to understand the significance of this during this election year and to work to see that those elected to the Senate know that there are two major problems with CEDAW — (1) the content of the treaty, and (2) its implementation: CEDAW’s content is contemporary colonialism; it exports — forces down the throats of signatory nations — its Neo-Marxist agenda. CEDAW’s implementation is through judicial imperialism; a committee of 23 U.N.-appointed women determines whether a nation is in compliance with the treaty — including whether the laws of the country align with the treaty. What they haven’t been able to accomplish through democratic processes, they hope to force by judicial fiat.

During the 2002 discussions, Biden and Boxer asserted that CEDAW is simply “an international bill of rights” that “sets out basic standards for women’s rights” with the clear implication that anyone opposed to the treaty is a misogynist. Further, they claim, ratification by the United States “would not impose a single new requirement in our laws.”

This claim is clearly erroneous and utterly preposterous. The treaty is a leftist utopian wish list: comparable worth, paid maternity leave, a national network of child care, free maternity-related health care, gender-blind military service, and quota-determined political parity for women. These are all specific requirements in the treaty itself. Clinton, Biden, Boxer, and Kerry have been pushing for these things for years, and now they have President Obama to help them.

This CEDAW campaign is only the latest battle in a larger struggle. When we go back and look at U.N. statements over the years, you can see the “stalking horse” stratagems of evolution, progression, and encroachment:

In 1948, the U.N. approved the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS — a document that states the obvious, that marriage is between a man and a woman who form a family, with that family being the natural and fundamental unit of society that is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Fast forward to 1966 and you’ll notice some very significant changes in the next major U.N. document — the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This document echoes previous statements about family. However, an innocuous sounding, but important modifying clause was added that indicates family is only important to society as it relates to the care of children. When we get to CEDAW, we begin to better comprehend the progression because now the role of the family is even further modified so that “it takes a village to raise a child.”

In 1981, CEDAW defined “maternity” as a social function and stated unequivocally that the “interest of the children is the primordial consideration.” Note the cumulative effect of one change added to another with these subtle shifts in language? First, family is the basic unit of society; then family is important only when children are dependent upon it; then children are the responsibility of the whole village; now there is a movement that children should be autonomous.

The content of CEDAW is bad for women and bad for the country. But there is more. CEDAW’s judicial imperialism is truly appalling.

In October 2002, the American Bar Association sponsored a workshop where a panel of lawyers casually discussed how CEDAW would be used in court to challenge state and federal laws and policies that they deemed discriminatory.

Let me reiterate: What the liberals have not been able to market to the American public and achieve through democratically elected representatives, they seek to impose by means of an imperial judicial system.

And with the court-imposed laws, the stakes are high, because the problems resulting from their mistakes and misdeeds are difficult to remedy. Judicial usurpation of power has gradually increased until now it is breathtaking in its audacity. Robert Bork calls this new regime our “Judicial Oligarchy.” George Will refers to the Justices as “our robed masters.”

The threat posed by erroneous rulings of the Supreme Court was clearly illustrated in both this century and the last. Most historians agree that the Court’s ruling in the Dred Scott case was a major factor in propelling us into civil war in the Nineteenth Century. But the bloody casualties of that horrific war are overshadowed by the 30 million-plus deaths by abortion via Roe v. Wade in the Twentieth Century.

The blood spilled in the Nineteenth Century abolished slavery. Today — though our Abortion Holocaust exceeds that of Hitler’s by five times — abortion remains a cultural abomination. Were Lincoln here today, he would doubtless warn us — based on his own bitter travail — of the cost we will pay for this travesty of justice.

If we fail to recognize the strategies of the forces of deception and death, we increase the duration and destruction of their attacks.

Let’s look at the informal ways CEDAW expands judicial tyranny through the force of international law. A case in Australia provides an illustration. The Australian feminists want the percentage of women in positions of political influence to equal their percentage in the population. Writing for the Australian Women Lawyers magazine, Hilary Charlesworth described their strategy: The main method was to put pressure on Australia by encouraging the CEDAW Committee to ask Australia questions on its 2003 report. This may sound rather indirect, but its usefulness should not be underestimated.

The clear intent of activists is to utilize the full force of international law to establish the CEDAW provisions in domestic law. One assessment method provides evidence — not just of indirect influence, but of concrete, irrefutable proof.

The American Bar Association released a lengthy CEDAW Assessment Tool in 2002 (funded entirely by the United States Agency for International Development) that will score countries on their compliance with the treaty. On page 80, assessors are instructed to ask, as it relates to Article 2 of the Convention: “Is CEDAW directly applied and given effect in courts as part of national law? What training programs exist to educate judges and other legal professionals about CEDAW’s precedence over national law?” Further, they are to ask what “national machinery” has been established, and what portion of the national budget allocated, for implementing CEDAW.

CEDAW supporters are trying to expand the treaty’s reach even further by promoting the ratification of an “optional protocol.” CEDAW’s Optional Protocol allows individuals and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), like the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, to file complaints against countries and for the Committee to conduct investigations based on those complaints.

These are elitists with a radical vision that is incompatible with the values and wishes of the vast majority of citizens. They espouse a vision of society that they could never sell to the general public. Lacking the ability to prevail through elective processes, they have set about to impose their views through the “unholy alliance” of the radical activist NGOs, the Courts and the U.N. — all who are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to interject their power into the most intimate seams of the fabric of our personal lives.

Sadly, their high-blown rhetoric of human rights and freedom for women is a stalking horse, hiding their radical agenda, which they plan to impose on us all through judicial decree. Make no mistake, they will be in our courts filing suits by the handful. The United States still has time to escape this destructive threat. We must work to convince the public that the “Unholy Alliance” behind CEDAW is a threat to our constitution, our culture, and our children.

Let’s expose that “stalking horse,” lest we be caught in the fowler’s snare.

Updated May 7, 2010

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