by Steven Ertelt
February 6, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates are concerned that the Senate will schedule committee and floor votes on the pro-abortion CEDAW treaty that the United Nations has used to pressure pro-life countries to change their abortion laws. The United States has yet to ratify the treaty but a vote to do so could happen in March.
The United Nations approved the on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women to help promote the rights and concerns of women.
President Jimmy Carter signed the treaty in 1980 but the Senate never ratified it.
Unlike legislation, international treaties roll over from one session of Congress to the next and with Democrats now controlling the Senate, abortion advocates are pressing for the chamber to finally approve the document.
They are pressing Sen. Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to hold a debate and vote on the treaty on March 8 and a Senate floor vote after the committee signs off on it.
A two-thirds vote in the Senate is needed to ratify CEDAW.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a pro-abortion California Democrat, has circulated a dear colleague letter urging House members to lobby the Senate to hold a vote on the treaty. She’s also pressing for a vote in the House on a non-binding resolution asking the Senate to vote for it.
Meanwhile, leading pro-life Rep. Chris Smith has circulated his own letter and is lobbying members to resist supporting CEDAW.
He said the U.S. would be bound both by the content of the CEDAW treaty and be subject to compliance oversight by the CEDAW Committee. While CEDAW doesn’t mention abortion, the committee has pressured other nations to promote abortion or fund it with taxpayer dollars.
"While CEDAW contains many worthy goals it has become clear that the oversight committee is intent on undermining the pro-life laws of signatories," Smith wrote. "If CEDAW is ratified by the Senate, the United States (U.S.) will not escape their overreaching efforts to impose abortion on our country as an international obligation."
Smith also worries the extreme views of the CEDAW Committee could be used in U.S. courts to argue for overturning state and federal pro-life laws if the treaty is ratified.
"Since the Constitution stipulates that treaties have the force of law, comments and recommendations by the Committee will be used against pro-life laws in U.S. courts," he explained.
"CEDAW will be distorted and used against provisions like parental involvement laws, the ban on barbaric partial birth abortions and conscience protection for people of faith—not to mention promoting taxpayer funding for abortion," Smith added.
ACTION: Contact your U.S. Senators and urge strong opposition to the CEDAW treaty. You can find specific contact information at https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm