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CEDAW is a bad UN (my readers know what this is!) treaty that would do all sorts of harm to the USA and its legal system.

In 2010, many groups apparently tried to use Mother’s day as a rally date for CEDAW.  I am afraid their well-meaning efforts could have caused great harm.  Let’s turn to a hostile witness for evidence:  The United Nations Association of the USA.

In their webpage, the UNAUSA tries to expose “myths” about CEDAW.  But they reveal much in their attempt.  Highhlights:

Myth: Ratification of CEDAW would enable the United Nations to impose a radical feminist agenda upon the United States, eroding US sovereignty and superseding the Constitution.

From the answer:  The only requirement for countries that have ratified CEDAW is to periodically report on their implementation of the treaty’s provisions. In addition, the United States can express “reservations, understandings, and declarations” in cases where domestic laws may diverge from the treaty’s provisions. Finally, since the US Government generally considers international treaties to be non-self-executing, legislation would need to be approved by Congress and the President to implement specific treaty provisions.

The answer exposes the myth is true:  There is a report to foreigners that is not authorized by the Constitution.  And American judges are bound by all treaties properly ratified regardless of the nature of the treaty.  Let’s try again…

Myth: Ratification would undermine the federal delineation of authority between national, state, and local governments.

Reality: Article 24 of the treaty states, in its entirety: “States Parties undertake to adopt all necessary measures at the national level aimed at achieving the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Convention.” Countries that have ratified CEDAW are expected to implement the provisions of the treaty at the national level. The treaty makes no mention of any actions to be implemented at any other level of government.

This answer actually contradicts the previous “myth” above and shows it as utterly true.  The USA could not have legal reservations but rather must implement laws in conformance to the treaty.  Also, treaties are treated in the Constitution as part of the “…supreme law of the land…” and all state judges must follow it .  More?

Myth: CEDAW promotes abortion.

Reality: The treaty does not mention abortion and was characterized by the State Department as “abortion neutral” in 1994. The only article addressing health issues, Article 12, reads, “States 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.”

Once again, the answer shows the truth of the “myth”.  Restrictions on abortion are seen as discrimination against women.  See my post on East Timor for more evidence.  CEDAW is reported by Illinois Right to Life as campaigning for liberalized abortion.  (Even ICLEI is pro-abortion – see here!)  I conclude with this from this UN publication:

In 1999, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women elaborated a general recommendation on Article 12 of the
Convention. Key points include:
“States parties should implement a comprehensive national strategy
to promote women’s health throughout their lifespan. This will include
interventions aimed at both the prevention and treatment of diseases
and conditions affecting women, as well as responding to violence
against women, and will ensure universal access for all women to a full
range of high-quality and affordable health care, including sexual and
reproductive health services.
“States parties should allocate adequate budgetary, human and
administrative resources to ensure that women’s health receives a
share of the overall health budget comparable with that for men’s
health, taking into account their different health needs.” (Emphasis mine)

Two more so-called myths:

Myth: CEDAW seeks to abolish Mother’s Day.

Reality: In 2000, the CEDAW committee stated that it was “concerned by the continuing prevalence of sex-role stereotypes and by the reintroduction of such symbols as a Mothers’ Day and a Mothers’ Award, which it sees as encouraging women’s traditional roles.” The committee was disapproving only of Belarus’ particular version of Mothers’ Day which promoted stereotypical roles for women; it was not condemning the general practice of celebrating Mothers’ Day.

When a UN agency talks about “women’s traditional roles”, they mean stay-at-home moms.  What else could they mean?  How can the UNAUSA say what the CEDAW committee meant?  They meant what they said:

361. The Committee is concerned by the continuing
prevalence of sex-role stereotypes and by the
reintroduction of such symbols as a Mothers’ Day and
a Mothers’ Award, which it sees as encouraging
women’s traditional roles. It is also concerned whether
the introduction of human rights and gender education
aimed at countering such stereotyping is being
effectively implemented.

Here’s a comment from the 2011 CEDAW report concerning Belarus:

18. The Committee calls on the State party to:
(a) Further strengthen its efforts to put in place a comprehensive policy with pro-active and sustained measures, targeted at women and men, girls and boys, to overcome stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society, in particular in areas where women are in the most disadvantaged position; and
(b) Intensify its cooperation with civil society and women’s organizations, Parliamentarians, education professionals, the private sector and the media, in order to disseminate targeted information to the general public and to specific stakeholders such as decision-makers, employers, journalists, disadvantaged groups of women, and the youth and to develop a more comprehensive strategy across all sectors to eliminate gender stereotypes, including images of women focusing excessively on maternal attributes, to promote images of economically and socially active women and of the equal responsibilities of women and men in the private and public spheres.  (emphasis mine)

I didn’t say it; the CEDAW committee did.  One more so-called myth:

Myth: CEDAW interferes with the appropriate role of the parents in child-rearing.

Reality: The treaty, in Article 5(b), simply recognizes “the common responsibility of men and women in the upbringing and development of their children, it being understood that the interest of the children is the primordial consideration in all cases.”

CEDAW places children first before parents; so does the equally bad UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  They proved my case exactly; if this were a courtroom, I would win a directed verdict:  CEDAW is bad and must not be ratified by the USA.  Have a blessed Mother’s Day!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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