Thursday, March 10, 2005

Sheryl McCarthy and the UN

Sheryl McCarthy has a new column out regarding the United States and the Beijing Platform.

In her column, McCarthy makes a few interesting claims.

"But the U.S. delegation held up the statement's approval by trying to insert language saying that nothing in the platform supports abortion or creates any new rights for women.

The platform doesn't even claim that there's an international right to abortion. So this bit of grandstanding was nothing more than a sop to the administration's conservative supporters here at home."

If you examine the Beijing Declaration you notice a couple of points that many people could claim mean a right to abortion. Such as:

We are convinced that:

17. The explicit recognition and reaffirmation of the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is basic to their empowerment;

We are determined to:

30. Ensure equal access to and equal treatment of women and men in education and health care and enhance women's sexual and reproductive health as well as education;

Don't pro-choice organizations use the term reproductive rights and health as a synonym for abortion? Is it really that outlandish to make sure that "the right of all women to control all of their health, in particular their own fertility" doesn't mean the right to control their fertility even if they are already pregnant? Is it really preposterous that this could include abortion?

McCarthy continues, "Meanwhile, since 2002 the Bush administration has been withholding financial support for the United Nations Population Fund - $34 million allocated by Congress that first year - on the humbug that some of the money might go to support China's coercive birth control measures."

McCarthy dismisses the reality that the UNFPA works hand in hand with China's policy of coercive abortion and forced sterilization as "humbug" (nonsense or drivel). So somehow the Bush administration is bad because they don't want tax dollars to go to an organization that supports a country's (China's) measures which openly violate the tenets of a conference named after a city (Beijing) in that country?

So it's ok for the United States to support China's coercive birth control policy (which violates the Beijing Declaration) but it's not ok for the United States to make sure that abortion isn't declared an international right in the Beijing Declaration?

Makes a whole lot of sense to me.

UPDATE: Pia de Solenni has more on Beijing and the UN's lack of advances for women.

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