It's difficult to embarrass President Clinton. He isn't embarrassed by
the Paula Jones lawsuit, or the illegal Indonesian and Korean campaign
donations, or the misuse of FBI files, or the criminal convictions of
his closest friends.
But we've finally found something that he admits is "an embarrassment."
It's his failure to persuade the U.S. Senate to ratify the United
Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
He called a special news conference last week to proclaim his mea
culpas in the presence of Hillary Rodham Clinton and a half dozen other
feminist activists. He hung his head, saying that, although 130 other
nations have ratified this treaty, the United States hasn't, and "there
is no excuse for this situation to continue."
Pressure from the whining feminists may have been one reason why
Clinton went public with this demand. Another reason was probably to
deflect criticism from his Oval Office meeting two days earlier with
General Chi Haotian, China's ruthless Defense Minister best known for
crushing the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests.
Do you suppose that Clinton discussed his shame about U.S. failure to
ratify this treaty with General Chi? Unlikely. Nor is it likely that
Clinton registered disapproval of China's treatment of women or its
policies of forced abortions and sterilization (even though China is a
signatory to this treaty).
American women are the most fortunate class of people on the face of
the earth. A treaty to enforce uniform rules for us and 130 other
nations, under the supervision of UN busybody bureaucrats, could only
diminish the rights and benefits American women now enjoy.
Furthermore, ratification of the UN Treaty on Discrimination Against
Women would be craven kowtowing to the radical feminists, exceeded only
by its unlimited capacity for legal mischief. It would be a massive
interference with U.S. laws as well as with our federal-state balance
Article 1 purports to abolish discrimination against women "in the
political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field."
Private relationships should be none of our government's business, much
less the business of the United Nations.
Article 2 reiterates that the treaty would "eliminate discrimination
against women by any person, organization or enterprise," including
"customs and practices." No human behavior is beyond the purview of
this impudent UN document.
The treaty would mandate the longtime feminist goal of total sexual
integration in the military. It would turn over to the United Nations
all decisions about military personnel, including the assignment of
women to ground combat.
Article 3 would require us to pass new federal laws not only in
political but also in "social, economic and cultural fields." Article
5 would require us "to modify the social and cultural patterns of
conduct of men and women" and to give assurances that we are following
UN dictates about "family education."
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." Unable to persuade Americans
voluntarily to go along with their censorship attempts, the feminists
are trying to get the UN to do this job for them.
Article 11 would chain us to the feminist goal that wages should be
paid on subjective notions of "equal value" rather than on objective
standards of equal work. It would also require the federal government
to establish "a network of child-care facilities."
Article 16 would
require us to allow women "to decide freely and responsibly on the
number and spacing of their children." In feminist theory, this means
that the United States would have to allow abortions at any time for
On the other hand, this language does not protect Chinese
women victimized by their government's policy of forced abortions.
China takes the position that it is not "responsible" for a woman to
bear more than one child.
Article 16 also levels a broadside attack
on states' rights. It would obligate the federal government to take
over all family law, including marriage, divorce, child custody, and
To monitor the "progress" made under this treaty, Article
17 sets up a Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against
Women consisting of 23 "experts." No doubt that means "experts" in
feminist ideology, probably as certified by Hillary Rodham Clinton
and/or Bella Abzug.
The State Department memo that explains the treaty, which was written
by the late Edmund S. Muskie, candidly admits that it applies "to
private organizations and areas of personal conduct not covered by U.S.
law." It also admits that the treaty completely fails to take into
account "the division of authority between the state and federal
governments in the United States."
President Jimmy Carter signed this terrible treaty in 1980, and ever
since the Senate has had the good judgment to refuse to ratify it. We
trust the Senate will retain its sanity on this issue, despite Mr.