[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 146 (2000), Part 2]
[Pages 2198-2199]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

                      THE RADICAL AGENDA OF CEDAW

  Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, earlier this morning I was thinking about 
20 years ago when a delightful young lady Senator from Kansas served in 
this body, Nancy Kassebaum. She was a lady in every respect, and I miss 
her to this good day.
  I was thinking about Nancy because today is International Women's 
Day. The radical feminists are at it again. They have chosen once again 
to press their case for Senate ratification of the United Nations 
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against 
Women, and that has the acronym of CEDAW.
  Let's examine this treaty which women organizations--including some 
of the more liberal women in Congress--are so eager to have approved by 
the Congress and reported out, first of all, by the Foreign Affairs 
Committee, on which I am chairman. They put out a press release 
yesterday that they were going to picket me. I guess they were going to 
scream and holler at me as they tried to do not long ago, which suits 
me all right because I have been screamed and hollered at before by the 
same crowd.
  ``This urgently needed'' treaty, as they describe it, has been 
collecting dust in the Senate archives for 20 years. It was submitted 
by President Carter to the Senate in 1980. In these years since 
President Carter sent it to the Senate, the Democratic Party controlled 
the Senate for 10 of those years and the Democrats never brought it up 
for a vote.
  Indeed, in the first 2 years of the Clinton administration, when the 
Democrats controlled not only the Senate but the White House, the 
Democrats never saw fit to bring this radical treaty up for a vote. 
They were silent in seven languages about it.
  Now, suddenly, 20 years later, they demand to be given urgent 
priority in the recommendation of this treaty, and that it be 
considered first by the Foreign Relations Committee and then by the 
  I say dream on because it is not going to happen. Why has CEDAW, the 
Convention of Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 
never been ratified? Because it is a bad treaty; it is a terrible 
treaty negotiated by radical feminists with the intent of enshrining 
their radical antifamily agenda into international law. I will have no 
part of that.
  Let me give a few examples of the world in which the authors and 
proponents of this treaty would have all live. Under this treaty, a 
``committee on the elimination of discrimination against women is 
established with the task of enforcing compliance with the treaty.''
  Mr. President, how about a few excerpts from the reports that the 
committee has issued? They provide a telling insight into the hearts 
and minds of the authors who wrote this treaty in the first place.
  What do they propose? They propose global legalization of abortion. 

[[Page 2199]]

treaty has been intended, from the very beginning, to be a vehicle for 
imposing abortion on countries that still protect the rights of the 
unborn. For example, this committee has instructed Ireland a country 
that restricts abortion, to ``facilitate a national dialogue on * * * 
the restrictive abortion laws'' of Ireland and has declared in another 
report that under the CEDAW treaty ``it is discriminatory for a 
[government] to refuse to legally provide for the performance of 
certain reproductive health services for women''--that is to say, 
  Another issue: Legalization of prostitution. In another report issued 
in February of, 1999, the CEDAW committee declared:

       The committee recommends the decriminalization of 

  They even called for the abolishment of Mother's Day. The CEDAW crowd 
has come out against Mother's Day--yes, Mother's Day. Earlier this 
year, the committee solemnly declared to Belarus its ``concern [over] 
the continuing prevalence of * * * such [stereotypical] symbols as a 
Mother's Day'' and lectured Armenia on the need to ``combat the 
traditional stereotype of women in `the noble role of mother.' ''
  There are not enough kids in day care, they claim.
  The committee informed Slovenia that too many Slovenian mothers were 
staying home to raise their children. What a bad thing for mothers to 
do--think of it--staying home with their children. This committee 
warned that because only 30 percent of children were in day-care 
centers, the other 70 percent were in grave danger of, now get this, 
``miss[ing] out on educational and social opportunities offered in 
formal day-care institutions.''
  Another thing, mandating women in combat. Boy, they are hot to trot 
on that. In a 1997 report, the CEDAW committee mandated that all 
countries adopting the treaty must ensure the ``full participation'' of 
women in the military, meaning that nations would be required to send 
women into combat even if the military chiefs decided that it was not 
in the national security interest of, for example, the United States of 
  This is the world that the advocates of this CEDAW treaty want to 
impose on America. That is why they are picketing my office right now, 
demanding the Senate Foreign Relations Committee consider this treaty 
and report it out to the Senate for approval.
  I say to these women who are picketing my office: Dream on. If its 
authors and implementers had their way, the United States, as a 
signatory to this treaty, would have to legalize prostitution, legalize 
abortion, eliminate what CEDAW regards as the preferable environment of 
institutional day care instead of children staying at home.
  This treaty is not about opportunities for women. It is about 
denigrating motherhood and undermining the family. The treaty is 
designed to impose, by international fiat, a radical definition of 
``discrimination against women'' that goes far beyond the protections 
already enshrined in the laws of the United States of America. That is 
why this treaty was publicly opposed in years past by, as I said 
earlier, Nancy Kassebaum and many others, who felt as I did then, and 
still do, that creating yet another set of unenforceable international 
standards would dilute, not strengthen, the human rights standards of 
women around the world.
  We need only to look at the conditions of women living in countries 
that have ratified this treaty, countries such as Iran and Libya, to 
understand that Nancy Kassebaum was right in her opposition to the 
Treaty on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. 
The fact is, the United States has led the world in advancing 
opportunities for women during the 20 years this treaty has been 
collecting dust in the Senate's archives. I suspect that America will 
continue to lead the way, while the CEDAW crowd and the treaty sits in 
the dustbin for a few more decades to come. If I have anything to do 
with it, that is precisely where it is going to remain.
  I do not intend to be pushed around by discourteous, demanding women 
no matter how loud they shout or how much they are willing to violate 
every trace of civility.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.