US Drops Anti-Abortion Line at UN Women's Meeting

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Robert_Plant:
US Drops Anti-Abortion Line at UN Women's Meeting
Thu Mar 3, 4:42 PM ET   World - Reuters
 By Deborah Zabarenko and Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States dropped controversial anti-abortion language from a proposed U.N. women's rights document on Thursday, acknowledging it got no formal support from other delegations at a global meeting.

At a two-week conference on the status of the world's women 10 years after a landmark gathering in Beijing, the United States removed the unpopular language on abortion, but proposed instead a line to say that documents from the China meeting "create no international human rights."

But this change, which is a U.S. code word for abortion, was rejected by all other nations at a closed-door negotiating session at the United Nations (news - web sites), including those from Latin America, European Union (news - web sites) and the African Union, envoys from these groups told Reuters.

"We stand alone but we are going to stand up for the things our country stands for," said top U.S. delegate Ellen Sauerbrey.

She insisted that many delegates sympathized with Washington's stance that abortion policy is a matter of national sovereignty, but were pressured not to say so publicly because of positions taken by regional groups.

"Other countries who came here today said that they were in full support of our position but were simply too intimidated to stand up," Sauerbrey said.

The U.N. session is meant to assess how far women have come toward equality since the 1995 Beijing conference and a follow-up meeting five years ago. Organizers seeking consensus drafted a streamlined document they hoped would be easily approved without controversy.

DISTRACTING LANGUAGE?

The proposed U.S. amendment -- with or without the abortion language -- was seen by some as a distraction from the meeting's central points of economic development and gender equality.

"We don't want any change in the Beijing declaration," said Nilcea Freire, Brazil's minister of state for women's affairs. She added all delegates in the closed-door talks rejected the U.S. amendment.

"We don't want amendments and negotiations," said Maddy Mulheims, a representative of the European Union and deputy head of Luxembourg's delegation. She said Europeans had drawn up a much stronger statement, but acquiesced in the name of consensus.

"We're getting the glasses ready, but we're not pouring the champagne yet," said June Zeitlin, who heads the Women's Environment and Development Organization. "We think this is a good first step but we hope they will continue down this path, we hope they will withdraw the entire amendment."

The new U.S. proposal on international human rights can be interpreted to include the right to abortion, without explicitly stating it.

Even so, Sauerbrey said the U.S. amendment was still on the table and the delegation continued to consult with the Bush administration in Washington.

Outside the intramural intrigues, a grass-roots group reported that life for many women has become tougher in the last decade.

The report, released as some 6,000 women's activists converged at the United Nations, blamed governments for failing to act on pledges to improve conditions for women in the final document from the 1995 Beijing conference.

"Governments are ... failing to mobilize the political will and leadership needed to carry out the commitments made to women at Beijing," said Zeitlin of the Women's Environment and Development Organization, which wrote the report. "As a result, many women in all regions are actually worse off now than they were 10 years ago."

Beyond government inaction, women's progress was hindered by growing poverty, increased militarization and fundamentalist opposition to women's rights, Zeitlin told a U.N. briefing.


What made me look twice at this article was Sauerbrey saying how they're going to stand for what our country stands for and how other nations were intimidated into not speaking up.  So she thinks that since Bush won that shows that americans are against abortion?  And that some countries that remain nameless were bullied by others into not speaking up.  If we would have their back on an ant-abortion stance, wouldn't those countries speak up?  Did Chirac go give them the evil eye or something.  

Just because Bush won its doesn't mean that the majority of the country is anti-abortion rights.  If we were, where is the huge outcry to stop abortions now beyond their usual supporters?  And do you think its possible to be anti-abortion but pro abortion rights?  I've kinda always thought with the pill, condoms, emergency contraceptives that you really have to not be careful to get pregnant.  And I suppose if you still wanted to piss off conservatives without getting an abortion, let a gay couple adopt it.  I wonder if this issue will ever be put to rest.

Rinn:
Quote from: Robert_Plant

Just because Bush won its doesn't mean that the majority of the country is anti-abortion rights.  If we were, where is the huge outcry to stop abortions now beyond their usual supporters?  And do you think its possible to be anti-abortion but pro abortion rights?  I've kinda always thought with the pill, condoms, emergency contraceptives that you really have to not be careful to get pregnant.


That stuff may be available, but you have no idea how many people just don't know about it, or don't know how to use it, or are simply afraid of it.  Also, never underestimate the power of people to not be careful.

As for the "anti-abortion but pro-abortion-rights" thing -- I know several women who would personally never, ever get an abortion, but want it to be an option for women who have reasons to do so. (I'm too tired right now to see how that's pertinent to the article, but hey, may as well respond.)

Also, was that US-proposed amendment specifically about abortion?  Or was there other changes in it as well?  Perhaps it's just that i don't know what's going on, but this article seems confusing and uninformative.

But what catches my eye is the fact that governments are not enforcing this document.  Also the reasons cited.  Head-meets-nail.

purplecat:
Quote from: US Delegate

"We stand alone but we are going to stand up for the things our country stands for," said top U.S. delegate Ellen Sauerbrey.

She insisted that many delegates sympathized with Washington's stance that abortion policy is a matter of national sovereignty, but were pressured not to say so publicly because of positions taken by regional groups.


Translation: I'm still right even though everybody else has said otherwise. Oh, and the lurkers agree with me. (flounce)

I'm starting to see the current US administration's attitude to foreign relations as akin to a troll in an internet chatroom.

Gizensha:
Quote from: purplecat

I'm starting to see the current US administration's attitude to foreign relations as akin to a troll in an internet chatroom.


I have the feeling other nations see your foreign relations the same way...

spirit_dog:
Acting the way the US currently does forigen policy wise just does not seem productive.  I really can't see what pissing off or annoying other nations acomplishes.

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