Saturday, March 05, 2005

O Wad Some Powr the Giftie Gie Us 

Via Zemblan patriot J.D.: The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women adopted a blueprint to establish worldwide equality for women, but only after a delegation from the rustic backwater of Washington, D.C., dropped its insistence on an anti-abortion amendment:
Jeers and catcalls greeted the top U.S. delegate to a global women's conference on Friday as she stressed Washington's opposition to abortion and support for sexual abstinence and fidelity . . . .

[T]op U.S. delegate Ellen Sauerbrey drew boos from the audience, which included some of the 6,000 activists who came from around the world, when she commented on Washington's interpretation of the document.

"We have stated clearly and on many occasions ... that we do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance," Sauerbrey said.

The loudest catcalls, unusual at the world body, came when she articulated U.S. policy on AIDS prevention for adolescents: "We emphasize the value of the ABC -- abstinence, be faithful, and correct and consistent condom use where appropriate -- approach in comprehensive strategies to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and the promotion of abstinence as the healthiest and most responsible choice for adolescents."

Earlier Friday, Sauerbrey said the United States was dropping its demand that the document be amended to say that abortion is a matter of national sovereignty and not a human right delineated by the 1995 conference in Beijing.

After a week of closed-door negotiations at the United Nations during a two-week conference on women's equality, Sauerbrey said the U.S. point had been made and therefore Washington's amendment was no longer needed . . . .

Despite U.S. lobbying, support for Washington's abortion stance was limited to the Vatican [which is not a full member of the U.N., but has observer status -- S.], Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama.
Another angle on Ms. Sauerbrey's belated flip-flop:
Charlotte Bunch, executive director of the Center for Women's Global Leadership, said the U.S. amendment was unnecessary, a distraction from the real issues, and "an effort to inject U.S. politics into a broad international consensus."

"They are declaring victory and going home, as in Vietnam," she said. "The reality is that they heard loud and clear the voices of 6,000 women here saying `No,' echoing millions of other women worldwide."
Ms. Sauerbrey, it turns out, has a long history of not being able to figure out why those crazy danged furriners cain't just git with the program. From a Sauerbrey speech at the website of United Families International, a lobbying group dedicated to chastity, fidelity, and the sanctity of life unborn:
I always feel when I'm being introduced as a representative of the United Nations that I have to say I'm a conservative; I'm not a feminist. I served 16 years in the legislature in the State of Maryland, and it was great preparation. I was the minority leader in the State of Maryland for eight of those years. It was a great preparation for service in the U.N. because, as an American, I can tell you I feel very much in the minority. It's a tough arena to work in.

Sean Hannity, this morning, talked about visions and the differences in visions. My perception is that this prevailing vision at the U.N. is one that is based on rights, but rights without responsibility. Family, whatever you want it to be. Sexual freedom, anything goes. Practically every resolution that goes before the U.N. … somebody tries to figure out a way to put in "reproductive services." There are many that view marriage as an oppressive institution that represses women and denies them of their opportunities. Mother has become an undesirable stereotype. Children are better cared for by the state than by parents. Parental leave is the solution in many countries because women need to always be out in the work force and we need to have government parental leave so that the women can take at least a little time, or maybe the husband, so the woman should stay in the work force, and the husband should stay with the children for a short period of time before they go into a daycare arena.

This is not the vision that most Americans share. It is certainly not the vision that I hear at the U.N. from the Muslim countries [Do tell! -- S.], from many of the African countries. But it's a vision that we are dealing with constantly . . . .

Let me wrap up by saying conservatives tend not to be engaged in the U.N. Perhaps we are not terribly interested in the U.N. because we don't see it as a being a friendly forum. But one thing I think we all have to understand is that we can't afford to ignore what is going on in these international bodies because they have the ability to have a profound impact on us.

During the Lawrence v. Texas deliberations [the 2003 case that overturned anti-sodomy laws -- S.] and the ruling, our U.S. Supreme Court cited what they call customary international law in that ruling. And the other side works tirelessly to get into every U.N. commission resolution that they can find, of any commission, language that addresses the points they're trying to make. And they do it time after time after time. Often these are things that the United States does not sign onto, and yet because it is being stated over and over and over again by a ruling body, our Supreme Court is saying this is becoming customary international law and using it in a decision like Lawrence. We don't dare ignore what is going on in the United Nations.

We also don't dare not recognize that the perception of the U.S. is being formed in a couple of arenas. One is certainly the media, which has a very distorted perception of what life is all about. It's what is being seen in the films and the broadcasts. Also, a clear perception of the United States is coming from what other countries see us do in the international arena of the United Nations. It is important that the United States be there to demonstrate moral leadership. Whose vision do you want reflected in the United Nations, Hillary Clinton's vision, which was the vision that preceded me, or the George Bush vision - two very different visions.
For more on other countries' "clear perception" of Mr. Bush's "vision" of "moral leadership," see next post, directly above.

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