Good afternoon, St. Louis. Today is Monday, July 22, 2002.

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This story was published in Editorial on Monday, July 22, 2002.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Treaty would harm rights of U.S. women

Thank you for crediting me (July 17 editorial) with blocking Senate ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Most American women would thank me for this if they ever read the treaty.

The notion is ridiculous that American women (the most fortunate class of people who ever lived) should submit to a treaty that dictates uniform rules for 130 other nations (all of which treat women worse than the United States).

Ratification would be craven kowtowing to the radical feminists, exceeded only by the treaty's unlimited capacity for legal mischief. It would be a massive interference with U.S. laws as well as with our federal-state balance of powers.

Some examples:

Article 2 states that the treaty would "eliminate discrimination against women by any person, organization or enterprise," including "customs and practices," as well as all "public institutions." This would include mandating the longtime feminist goal of a gender-neutral military.

Article 11 would chain us to the feminist goal that wages should be paid on subjective notions of "equal value" (that is, the discredited notion of "comparable worth") rather than on objective standards of equal work. It would also require another long-time feminist goal, a federal "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." This is feminist jargon to lock the United States into a perpetual treaty obligation to allow abortions at any time for any reason.

On the other hand, this language would not protect Chinese women victimized by their government's policy of forced abortions because China takes the position that it is not "responsible" for a woman to bear more than one child.

To monitor U.S. compliance, Article 17 sets up a committee of "23 experts." No doubt that means "experts" in feminist ideology and tactics, such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barbara Boxer and Patricia Schroeder.

The treaty's international "experts" have already issued negative reports about the practices of countries that were rash enough to ratify the treaty. They criticized Ireland for "promoting a stereotypical view of the role of women in the home and as mothers," Belarus for "such symbols as a Mother's Day," Slovenia because "less than 30 percent of children under 3 years of age were in formal day care." They recommended "the decriminalization of prostitution in China."

The treaty would clearly diminish the rights and benefits American women now enjoy, as well as give extraordinary powers over U.S. laws to busybody global bureaucrats.

We hope the U.S. Senate will have the good judgment to leave it in the bottom drawer where it has been for more than 20 years.

Phyllis Schlafly, Ladue

Promoting rights

Whining feminist? Not quite. Concerned young woman? You bet!

I am a 21-year-old college student who supports ratification of the international treaty eliminating all forms of discrimination against women.

I commend you for the editorial urging ratification of the treaty banning discrimination against women. By not signing the treaty, the U.S. holds hands with countries that we openly criticize for their degrading policies regarding women. We stand with countries like Iran and Sudan, which have yet to implement national policies supporting women's rights.

What message is the U.S. sending by not signing this treaty? The U.S. should be the leading country in promoting human rights for all citizens. I encourage Attorney General John Ashcroft to move the treaty to the Senate floor so I can proudly say I am an American woman who supports all women worldwide in their struggle for the rights I enjoy daily.

Jennifer Swan, O'Fallon, Mo.

Published in Editorial on Monday, July 22, 2002.

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