A Feminist End Run Around Sovereignty

by Patrick J. Buchanan – August 5, 2002

“The ‘house of world order’ will have to be built from the bottom up. … An end run around sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece, will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault.”

So wrote diplomat Richard Gardner in 1974. And there is no better illustration of conducting an end run around sovereignty than the feminist drive to have the Senate ratify the U.N. “Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.”

Crafted by radical feminists, “CEDAW” was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1979 and signed by Jimmy Carter in 1980. When the Reagan Revolution rolled over America CEDAW seemed a gone goose, and has lain doggo in the Senate for two decades.

But with Jim Jeffords’ defection and a shift of power to the Democrats, CEDAW was revived by the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden. Last week, Biden rammed CEDAW through the committee 12 to 7. Now, it is only a Senate vote away from becoming U.S. law.

While the language of CEDAW is vague, it is not too much to say that if the Senate ratifies it, feminists will have a weapon for federalizing and rewriting all family law in the United States.

Consider how the 23 “experts” the U.N. selected to oversee the implementation of CEDAW have interpreted it. Belarus was admonished for celebrating “Mother’s Day.” China was told to decriminalize prostitution. Belgium was ripped for not achieving quotas for women, and responded by reserving 50 percent of all candidate slots for women.

CEDAW requires that all women and girls “have access to adequate health care facilities, including information, counseling and services in family planning.” This is being interpreted as a right to abortion on demand. And the CEDAW committee rapped the Irish for voting down legalized abortion, attributing it to Church influence in maintaining old “attitudes and stereotypes.”

In its 1998 compliance report, cited by The Washington Times, the U.N. experts attacked Croatia’s freedom of conscience law, which exempts doctors opposed to abortion from having to perform them, as “an infringement of women’s reproductive rights.”

Writes Phyllis Schlafly, “Article 10 would make it a federal responsibility to ensure the elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women at all levels, and in all forms of education … by the revision of textbooks … and teaching methods.”

Do we really want U.N. busy-bodies nosing around the textbooks by which our children are taught? Or is that America’s business alone?

Here is how Gardner’s “house of world order” is to be built. Utopian elites, with radical visions of how the world ought to be ruled, but who cannot get their ideas written into law, bypass the democratic process in their own countries and go to the U.N.

There, they draft treaties with such non-controversial goals as ending torture, saving the earth, stopping genocide and abolishing discrimination. Few, other than their authors, read these treaties, which are whistled through the General Assembly.

The interpretation of what the treaties require is then left to “experts.” But in every Western nation, judges and lawyers can be found to interpret these treaties exactly as their authors intended. Elevated to national law, the treaties are then used to reshape free societies in ways their own citizens would never have supported.

As a sovereign nation with its own unique customs, traditions and laws, the United States should reject any and all global treaties that attempt to force an ideological conformity on America.

Unfortunately, U.S. administrations have been morally bullied into attending the international conferences where these treaties are signed and celebrated. When Americans are horrified by what they read in the fine print, they must either swallow and sign on, at the expense of U.S. national interests and sovereignty, or be branded as isolationists and unilateralists by the “international community.”

On defending U.S. sovereignty, George W. Bush has a good record. While he mistakenly went to the Monterey shake-down to pledge a 50 percent increase in foreign aid, he took a pass on the reparations hoe-down in Durban, he “unsigned” the Rome treaty creating the International Criminal Court, and he rejected the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

But CEDAW is coming up for a full Senate vote this fall. The Democrats and their Big Media auxiliary will declare it an issue of women’s rights. And the president will have to take a stand. CEDAW should be killed, after which the president should unsign this feminist scheme. Delenda est CEDAW.