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WFF Statement


Women for Faith & Family urges women to contact their senators today
-- by postcard, email, fax and phone -- urging them to oppose ratification of CEDAW!
updated 8/22/02


The United Nations treaty, Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), never ratified by the United States, has been aptly described as the ultimate feminist wish list written as an international treaty.

Women for Faith & Family, and many other pro-family organizations consistently oppose CEDAW as destructive to families and children.

WFF issued a statement on CEDAW on May 25, 2000. This critique of CEDAW was sent to US Senators and other government and Church officials, and was published in the Summer 2000 Voices.

(See WFFs Statement on CEDAW and See Timeline on CEDAW last updated 6/2/02)

For more than twenty years Americans have fought CEDAW. No US Senate has yet been willing to ratify such an assault on American sovereignty, although nearly 170 nations have joined the treaty.

Now this pernicious treaty must be fought again.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Feminist groups revive push to ratify

On July 30, 2002, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under the chairmanship of Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) voted twelve-to seven to send CEDAW to the full Senate for a vote.

Republicans Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Gordon Smith of Oregon sided with the ten Democratic members of Foreign Relations Committee to send the treaty forward.

Experts agree that with the Democratic majority in the Senate, CEDAW is just a few votes short of 67 votes required for ratification. Feminists have mounted a flash campaign to secure the remaining votes.

Abortion rights advocates and feminists have flooded Senate offices with their demands that CEDAW become the law of the land. Even avowedly pro-life senators, including Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), report that they have received an avalanche of pro-CEDAW faxes and emails.

While CEDAW proponents have struggled to keep abortion out of all discussion forums on CEDAW, claiming that the treaty is abortion neutral, the reality is that CEDAW has already cited Ireland for dragging its feet over legalization of abortion. Furthermore, the United Nations CEDAW committee (unelected experts who monitor a nations compliance with the treaty provisions) criticized Ireland for the permitting the Catholic Church to influence public debate.

Holy See objects to pro-abortion provisions

The Holy See, a Permanent Observer at the United Nations has not signed CEDAW. The Holy See Mission to the United Nations has answered questions on CEDAW, noting that, despite the Holy See's objection to unfair discrimination against women,

"[T]here are portions of this Convention that made it impossible for the Holy See to take part. One of those difficulties can be found in Articles 12, 14 and 16. These make mention of the rights of women to access to family planning services. Since then, family planning services have been defined to include reproductive health services which might include abortion ... a definition that the Holy See has never accepted and something to which the Holy See can never agree".

Concerned Women for America, a conservative Protestant policy organization, notes that CEDAW effectively hands over social, domestic, and political issues to an unaccountable body and could yield considerable influence in our courts. CWA agues that introducing CEDAW to our court system is the greatest danger to our laws and the right of the United States to govern itself.

CEDAW Objectives

If ratified, CEDAW could supersede national law. This is exactly the covert enforcement mechanism that supporters of CEDAW deny exists. However, there is strong evidence that CEDAW would dominate US domestic law.

For example, the American Bar Association has issued The CEDAW Assessment Tool -- a 175-page document outlining training and education on the provisions of CEDAW for US judges.

The ABA's "CEDAW Assessment Tool" asks,

Americans could not ask for a clearer indicator of how the CEDAW treaty erodes sovereignty, religious and cultural freedoms.

CEDAW grim record

CEDAW has already been used to chastise nations


Nevertheless, Senator Biden defends the treaty. He says, "It sets out basic standards for women's rights, from the right to education to the right to equal employment opportunity to the right to equality under the law in marriage".

Conversely Senator Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) the ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee clarified the issue:

"Unfortunately, some are confusing the very clear moral imperative to secure basic freedoms and liberties for women with pretense that a need exists to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)".


Women for Faith & Family urges immediate action of all our members.

The timetable for the full Senate vote on CEDAW is not clear. Capitol watchers suggest that Senator Biden is anxious to bring it to the floor as soon as possible. Republicans believe CEDAW will be advanced for a vote before the November elections.

Please contact your senators today by postcard, email, fax and phone to urge them to oppose ratification of CEDAW.

A list of senators, with links to their home pages and contact information can be found on the internet at:

Or call the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121.

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