March 15, 2010
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend part of the 54th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York. The CSW is a UN body with power for global policy-making on issues related to women and gender. Every year delegates from member states meet at UN headquarters in NY to evaluate progress and draft policies to promote women and gender equality. The question of abortion is always hotly debated and presented in a variety of creative forms from anti-life advocates.
With the memory still fresh from my first CSW (five years ago) I was much encouraged this year with the number of pro-life lobbyists present. Most lobbyists fell into two categories: generous college students on Spring Break or fed up pro-life moms from the Midwest! Both groups made their presence felt; there was no question that they were a viable force. There were also a significant number of pro-life, pro-family side-sessions, with speakers including Miriam Grossman and Pam Stencil, as well as researchers, MDs, and ObGyns. In particular, one session about the importance of motherhood was attended by approximately 500 persons.
Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, representatives of the Obama Administration werent tuned into the pro-life U.S. citizens present (you know, the American people whom they represent). They were more concerned about advocating for things like the Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Ratification, among other things.
CEDAW is a womens rights international agreement of the UN that was first adopted in 1979. Worthy of mention is the fact that this agreement would also advance such policy areas as abortion rights; same-sex marriage; legalization of prostitution; gender re-education; and would negate parental rights. Out of 192 member countries, the U.S. is one of eight not to ratify; ratification would require 67 senators to vote affirmatively.
Despite efforts from previous Democrat Administrations, proponents have not been successful in achieving ratification. But the Obama Administration is actively working to change that. In her remarks to the CSW, Secretary Clinton named CEDAW ratification as a major priority for the Obama Administration. Karen Richardson, Senior Advisor on International Organizations to State Department Ambassador for the Global Womens Issues Bureau Melanne Verveer, spoke at a number of CSW workshops and affirmed that the Obama Administration and in particular Amb. Verveer are working actively with the Hill to ratify CEDAW.
Interestingly, Secretary Clinton also noted in her remarks to the CSW the recent issue article on Gendercide in The Economist, noting that sex selection abortion has left the world with 100 million fewer girls than it should have. While I appreciated the fact the Secretary noted this tragedy in her remarks, I only wish she would make the necessary connection between the abortion rights she so aggressively advocates and the societal ramifications that follow, such as this appalling gendercide reality. Abortion never has been --- and never will be good for women.