This is the twelfth entry in a series on FOCA by Stealth by AUL Vice President of Legal Affairs, Denise M. Burke. The entire article from which this series is taken is available at Beware of “FOCA-By-Stealth”: Radical Abortion-on-Demand Agenda Being Implemented Piecemeal.
Potential Ratification of International Conventions & Treaties
The U.S. Constitution gives the Senate power to ratify international treaties and conventions and make them binding on American law and citizens. They may ratify treaties and conventions with or without “reservations”: unilateral statements purporting to exclude or modify the legal obligations of the treaty or convention and its effects on the reserving nation or government.
In recent years, a variety of international conventions—many of them originating with the United Nations—have been developed and have as their stated or implied purpose the expansion of abortion rights and the repeal of laws regulating or limiting abortion. To date, the U.S. has not ratified any of these conventions, but Americans cannot underestimate the negative impact of potential ratification.
In February 2009, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)—a vocal supporter of abortion-on-demand—promised to call on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department to complete their review of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and transmit it to the Senate for immediate ratification.
If ratified, this international convention could severely undermine parents and their inherent right and responsibility to care for and raise their children without unneeded governmental oversight and interference. It would also directly undermine U.S. sovereignty and the enforceability of American laws, subjecting U.S. citizens and American laws to the administrative oversight—and even veto power—of the United Nations and its bureaucrats.
A fundamental presumption of UNCRC is that parental responsibility exists only insofar as parents are willing to further the independent choices of their children. To advance the convention’s purposes—seeking to make children (even young children) autonomous from their parents and arguably supplanting parents with the State—the convention grants to children a list of inviolable and radical rights including “the right to privacy,” “the right to freedom of thought and association,” and “the right to freedom of expression.”
Specifically, the Convention’s right to privacy provisions could be used to undermine and eliminate laws mandating parental involvement in a minor daughter’s abortion decision. Article 16 of the convention purports to invest a minor with an absolute right to privacy, which, in light of the U.N.’s historic support for unfettered abortion-on-demand, would necessarily permit a minor to obtain an abortion without the benefit of parental involvement and even without her parents ever knowing about the abortion. Article 19 of the Convention permits the “identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment, and follow-up” of those—including parents—who interfere with a child’s fundamental rights, including the right to privacy.
UNCRC is not the only international convention yet to be ratified by the Senate that embodies the spirit of FOCA and implements key components of its radical abortion-on-demand agenda. Abortion advocates and their allies have long agitated for the ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
CEDAW was signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, but it has never been ratified by the Senate. Notably, while the word “abortion” does not appear in the actual text, Article 12 of CEDAW asserts that ratifying nations “shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.” Many official bodies—both inside and outside the U.N.—interpret this Article and other related provisions to condemn all limitations or restrictions on abortion as per se discrimination against women.
In practice, U.N committees and bureaucrats have consistently used CEDAW as the basis for criticizing member nations and pressuring them to weaken or repeal laws restricting abortion, to provide public funding of abortion, and to even eliminate laws protecting the conscience rights of healthcare providers who decline to participate in abortions.
Not surprisingly, support for CEDAW is strong and widespread among abortion advocates. For example, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), a New York-based group dedicated to using “the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill,” has consistently called for the ratification of CEDAW with “no reservations” so that its spirit and intent could be fully implemented in the U.S. Notably, CRR actively opposes any limits or restrictions on abortion and regularly files federal and state lawsuits seeking to derail laws regulating abortion.
Moreover, CRR and other abortion advocates routinely argue that CEDAW cements abortion as a fundamental human right and mandates unfettered abortion-on-demand in the U.S. and elsewhere. For example, in their 2001 lawsuit in federal district court seeking to strike down the Mexico City Policy, CRR cited U.N. conventions and customary international law as support for the bold assertion that “abortion is the law of the world.”
Clearly, with abortion supporters currently in control of the Senate, the ratification of UNCRC, CEDAW, and international conventions promoting abortion-on-demand is a distinct and troubling possibility—one that would effectively usher in an era of unregulated and unrestricted abortion in America and invalidate any federal or state limitation on or common-sense regulation of abortion.