Posted on | July 10, 2012 by Stefano Gennarini, J.D. |
Staff from every major, and not so major, UN entity, human rights agency, program and organization showed up yesterday morning in Conference Room 3 of the temporary North Lawn Building at UN Headquarters in New York at a commemorative event for the 30th anniversary of the CEDAW Committee. Later during the evening, the same crowd attended a reception in the Church Center for the UN to see a short film titled: “CEDAW Experts as Superheroes”. Uh?
Speakers and panelists praised the work of the Committee over the past thirty years in advancing “women’s rights” through its pseudo-jurisprudence and pseudo-legal commentary on the Convention and the laws of sovereign states. They touted the influence of the Committee as earth-shattering, claiming that it has pervaded the operations and programs of every United Nations body and agency, as well as regional human rights systems and national courts.
What the CEDAW Committee together and other human rights bodies that monitor the implementation of human rights treaties have been successful in doing though, is far from progressing women’s rights through legal mechanisms. On the contrary, the “experts” that have been working in these committees have been steadily and surely vilifying women by turning them into ideological pawns for their social experiments. In the process they have been subverting the international legal order by ignoring and discrediting the sovereignty of states, undermining the United Nations human rights framework, and calling for the elimination of the right to life by ordering countries to stop criminalizing abortion.
How have women become pawns in a social experiment? Well, consider only the notion of “safe abortion” which the CEDAW committee has been promoting perhaps more than any other United Nations entity, bar the WHO and UNFPA perhaps – but that is only because they have more money to spend. The committee has instructed over 40 countries to change their abortion laws on more than 100 occasions in the past 20 years on the premise that, where abortion is illegal, maternal mortality and morbidity is increased because illegal abortions are for the most part unsafe.
But the notion of “unsafe abortion” is a complete hoax. Even logically it is problematic, since abortion has inherent risks like any medical procedure. But aside from logic, it has no support in science, and has been constructed by blatantly ignoring the true health needs of women. There is no scientific evidence that maternal mortality and morbidity is affected by laws restricting access to or outlawing induced abortion. REPEAT, there is no scientific evidence that restricting abortion kills women. Instead there is scientific evidence that other factors, like education, emergency obstetric care, pre-natal care, skilled birth attendants, and better overall health care drastically reduce, and even eliminate maternal mortality.
These were the results of a very recent epidemiological study in Chile. This was the very first study based on accepted epidemiological methods analyzing the supposed link between abortion laws and maternal mortality. The study found that as Chile restricted abortion, maternal mortality rates plummeted. Why? Not because abortion was restricted, though perhaps there is anecdotal evidence that was a contributing factor. But because of the increased availability of education, basic health care, emergency obstetric care and prenatal care and skilled birth attendants.
This study will very likely be ignored by the CEDAW Committee, because the committee is not engaged in a scientific debate about what will help women, but in promoting a cultural revolution. They completely ignore the fact that many women want children.
This kind of ideological rigidity was also on display at the last session of Commission of the Status of Women, a functional committee of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. During that session, advocates of abortion and family planning were so insistent on their agenda that, in the resolution adopted by the Commission, the references of sexual and reproductive health outnumbered references to maternal health by 5 to 1.
If the CEDAW committee and other radical women’s advocacy groups were interested in women they would invest as much energy in helping women have children as they do in telling them its better if they don’t. Unfortunately the committee is more interested in imposing its own myopic ideology on the whole world, at the expense of women and unborn children, who die because of the lack of maternal care and the legalization of abortion.