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Aug. 2, 2002
CEDAW — A Precursor of Life Without Jesse Helms in the Senate 
The United Nations Treaty known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has been around for years and the U. S. Senate has not ratified it mainly because of the firm objections of Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) who opposes it because the treaty would further promote abortion around the world. As long as the Republicans were in the majority in the Senate, Senator Helms chaired the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and CEDAW went nowhere. Now that the Democrats are in control and pro-abortion Senator Joe Biden chairs that committee, the treaty is once again on the Senate agenda. On Tuesday, July 30, the Foreign Relations Committee voted 12-7 to approve the treaty, with Republican Senators Gordon Smith of Oregon and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island joining the 10 Democrats. With Senator Helms at home recovering from very serious heart surgery, the CEDAW will now go to the Senate floor for ratification perhaps as early as September. It takes two-thirds of Senators present to ratify the treaty.

In an effort to delay the vote, Senator Helms sent a letter in which he said: "There can be no doubt that CEDAW supporters are attempting to use this treaty to advance their radical abortion agenda." "This is evident in CEDAW committee reports directing Ireland to legalize abortion, and criticizing Ireland for the Church’s influence in public policy."

National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) released a statement saying it "strongly opposes ratification of CEDAW because it has been construed by U.N. agencies, by the European Parliament, and by pro-abortion activists in the United States to be inconsistent with any limitations on abortion. In a letter to Senators, NRLC pointed out that, "as recently as July 3, the European Parliament narrowly voted to adopt a sweeping report calling for removal of all limitations to abortion by current European Union members such as Ireland, Spain and Portugal, and by nations seeking membership, such as Poland and Malta. The report cited CEDAW as grounds for its assertion that there is an ‘international legal framework’ under which all European Union nations should recognize abortion as a ‘fundamental right.’"

Please contact your Senators during the August recess and tell them to vote AGAINST ratification of the CEDAW! You can reach them by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202/224-3121, or their state regional offices, which are listed in the U.S. Government Offices pages of your local telephone book.

Pro-Life Legislators Foil "Deal" on Bankruptcy Bill 
The Bankruptcy Reform Act that has been stalled in Congress because of its harsh impact on pro-life protesters convicted of blocking access to abortion clinics ran into more obstacles on Saturday night, July 27. In many cases, courts have demanded the payment of huge fines on the part of pro-lifers who don’t have much money to begin with and must seek relief through declaring bankruptcy. A provision in the bill would prohibit any peaceful pro-life protester penalized under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) from doing so. The Bankruptcy Reform Act is a top priority with business groups that have worked for its passage for five years. Most pro-life lawmakers supported it until pro-abortion Senator Chuck Shumer (D-NY) succeeded in adding the FACE language.

After trying for months to curb or kill that provision, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), the chief bankruptcy negotiators who are pro-life stalwarts, cut a deal with the Democrats who agreed to limit it to people who knowingly violate the law.

But, pro-life champion Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) would have none of it and objected to Mr. Hyde’s deal. Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) joined Mr. Smith, saying "We are going to expose many peaceful pro-life protesters to financial ruin by making these fines nondischargeable." (AP, 7/28/02)

Reps. Smith and Pence were joined by their colleagues Joe Pitts (R-PA), John Shadegg (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Todd Akin (R-MO), who "put their political capital on the line for the sanctity of life — and succeeded." (Washington Update, Family Research Council, 7/30/02)

The deal unraveled, giving more time for opponents to solidify their opposition to legislation that would result in the impoverishment of peaceful, pro-life protesters.

Republican National
Coalition for Life

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