Bushies: women not human

We now have a window into what President Bush and America's senators think of the world's women: Not much.

An international women's treaty banning discrimination has been ratified by 169 countries so far (without emasculating men in any of them!), yet it has languished in the United States Senate ever since President Carter sent it there for ratification in 1980. This month the Senate Foreign Relations Committee got around to holding hearings on it, but the Bush administration, after shyly supporting it at first, now is finding its courage faltering.

Nicholas Kristof is just a bit off base when he assumes the success of the rights movement for women in the U.S., saying that the treaty ". . . has almost nothing to do with American women, who already enjoy the rights the treaty supports," but he is absolutely correct when he describes the Bushie adminstration's attitude toward the treaty.
Critics have complained that the treaty, in the words of Jesse Helms, was "negotiated by radical feminists with the intent of enshrining their radical anti-family agenda into international law" and is "a vehicle for imposing abortion on countries that still protect the rights of the unborn."

That's absurd. Twenty years of experience with the treaty in the great majority of countries shows that it simply helps third-world women gain their barest human rights. In Pakistan, for example, women who become pregnant after being raped are often prosecuted for adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. But this treaty has helped them escape execution.

How can we be against that? Do we really want to side with the Taliban mullahs, who, like Mr. Ashcroft, fretted that the treaty imposes sexual equality? Or do we dare side with third-world girls who die because of their gender, more than 2,000 of them today alone?

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Published on June 19, 2002 12:24 AM.

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