Republican Platform Better Than Democratic on Promoting Abortion Overseas

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 2, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Republican Platform Better Than Democratic on Promoting Abortion Overseas

by Austin Ruse
October 2, 2008 Note: Austin Ruse is president of the New York and Washington DC-based Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the group’s Friday Fax publication.

New York, NY ( — The platforms of the two major American parties show a stark difference in how each presidential candidate would approach United Nations (UN) issues.

The Republican platform explicitly rejects various UN treaties while the Democratic platform makes clear its support for the agenda of wider access to abortion and a strengthening of the UN system of enforcing abortion rights.

The Republican platform rejects by name two UN treaties that have been used by UN Committees, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote abortion — the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child — and supports the continued defunding of groups overseas that promote or perform abortions.

Specifically the GOP platform says, "Because the UN has no mandate to promote radical social engineering, any effort to address global social problems must respect the fundamental institutions of marriage and family. We assert the rights of families in all international programs and will not fund organizations involved in abortion.

It continues, "We strongly support the long-held policy of the Republican Party known as the ‘Mexico City policy,’ which prohibits federal monies from being given to non-governmental organizations that provide abortions or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. We reject any treaty or agreement that would violate those values. That includes the UN convention on women’s rights, signed in the last months of the Carter Administration, and the UN convention on the rights of the child."

This is the first time the Republican platform has specifically rejected these treaties and is likely a reflection of the increasingly radical rulings of the committees empowered to monitor state compliance with them. CEDAW has been used repeatedly by its committee to promote abortion.

The Democratic platform does not explicitly support either treaty but, according to the National Organization for Women, Democratic nominee Barack Obama supports United States (US) ratification of the CEDAW treaty, as does vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The platform explicitly supports the ideas contained in these treaties and resurrects a slogan used by Hilary Clinton at the Beijing Women’s Conference, "Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights." This was a rallying cry for abortion at the Beijing conference in 1995.

The platform states "We must make the United Nations human rights organs more effective, energetic, and effective."

Critics charge that the human rights bodies at the UN are already too energetic and even aggressive in promoting a left-wing social agenda. Critics further charge that these human rights bodies undermine international law by ceding power from sovereign states to bodies made up largely of NGO representatives.

The Democratic platform also promises to begin funding pro-abortion groups overseas by overturning long-standing US policy against it. The platform also promises that the Democratic president would return to funding the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) which the US Government defunded because of the agency’s links to China’s coercive one-child policy.

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