by Steven Ertelt
March 3, 2005
New York, NY (LifeNews.com) — Contrary to media reports, the United States is not planning to drop its insistence that a document summarizing the progress made in advancing women’s rights include language saying it does not advocate abortion.
Nations from around the world are meeting this week to ratify a declaration that states what progress has been made in helping women since a 1995 women’s conference in Beijing.
The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, which organized the conference, hopes to produce a document which articulates the progress made and goals left to fulfill in helping women in areas such as health, education and employment.
The Bush administration strongly supports those goals, but does not want to see the document promote abortion as a worldwide right and proposed an amendment to that effect.
U.S. Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, head of the U.S. delegation, told delegates Wednesday that the U.S. did not want nations to "mischaracterize" the document.
New reports of the Bush administration dropping the amendment center around growing consensus for making sure the document is neutral on abortion, which may be softening the concerns.
Sauerbrey told the delegates that the U.S. believed "abortion policies are a matter of national sovereignty, and we are pleased that so many other countries have indicated their agreement with this position."
"We anticipate that we can now focus clearly on addressing the many urgent needs of women around the world," she said.
However that does not indicate the amendment will be dropped.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Sauerbrey indicated the U.S. had no intention of dropping the amendment, even though the Associated Press, Reuters, and New York Times are reporting otherwise.
Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, told the Associated Press that the consensus that the document should not be used to promote abortion is growing.
"We’ve been hearing from other governments that they agree with us on our concerns about the original intent of Beijing in the outcome document and their domestic laws reflect that,” Grenell told AP.