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False Choices: Sacrificing Equality to get CEDAW

The United States signed the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1980, but it has not yet ratified the Convention. Proponents of ratification argue that the U.S.’ failure to ratify CEDAW hurts American efforts, by both the government and private organizations, to promote human rights. Although the Global Justice Center agrees, we urge organizations committed to promoting true gender equality not to support ratification accompanied by the sort of “understanding” added by Senator Helms in 1994. The compromises made by the addition of the Helms “understanding” sacrificed the core concepts of CEDAW. This dangerous “understanding” resurrects the discriminatory fallacy of biology as destiny and promotes the agenda of those who would find laws severely restricting or even criminalizing abortion to be perfectly compatible with “women’s rights” and “equality.”

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