Seriously. That's what it said during a UN conference on women's rights. It seems to have thoroughly derailed actual discussion of women's rights at that conference. It also tells you what the next four years will be like in this country.
UNITED NATIONS -- Ten years after a landmark U.N. women's conference in Beijing, thousands of delegates convened here Monday to review the world's progress toward equality for women. But the meeting was plunged into controversy when the U.S. insisted that delegates declare that women have no right to abortion.
This week's session, attended by 80 government ministers and thousands of other delegates from nearly 100 countries, aims to reinvigorate efforts to improve women's lives as outlined at the 1995 Beijing conference. The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women had hoped to avoid controversy and focus on issues such as preventing HIV/AIDS, improving girls' education and halting sexual trafficking. [...] At the 1995 conference, negotiators agreed to treat abortion as a public health issue, and the platform said that it should be safe where it is legal and that women should not be punished for having one. It left legal decisions up to each country....
Mind, this position is in direct conflict with current US law, so it certainly tells you where they're hoping to go. The US injected the issue into a conference where it simply has no place whatsoever; the abortion issue had been quite deliberately laid to the side in the previous version of this conference, clearly to sidestep the debate the administration is wilfully forcing.
The US has also proposed reforming inheritance laws so that women may inherit in countries where they currently may not. More conservative countries are now deeply offended at that. Thus, the US has offended conservative countries by proposing that they change traditional law, and more liberal countries by injecting abortion into the debate.
Clearly, the aim of the US delegation was to undermine the conference and make it utterly pointless. At this, they would seem to have succeeded. You wonder why they didn't just refuse to attend. At least they've signalled their intentions, to anyone paying attention. (Of course, it's a UN conference, so inside this country, there will be very few paying attention. More's the pity.)
One might suspect, somehow, that they're likely to be launching a broad based attack on all rights of women in this country. Abortion first, anything else they can think of to follow. Women's health issues will be the easiest, of course; it's where they've concentrated their fire to date.
The next four years, at least, will be an utterly miserable time to be a woman in this country.Posted by iain at March 01, 2005 03:03 AM