By David Limbaugh

If the acronym “CEDAW” doesn’t mean anything to you, you need to read further. It is a dangerous international treaty disguised as a wonderful advancement in women’s rights.

CEDAW stands for the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979. So far, 169 nations are signatories. President Carter signed the treaty in 1980, but the Senate has yet to ratify it.

Who could be opposed to such an innocuous pact? The answer is anyone who cares about United States sovereignty, states’ rights, forced gender “re-education,” motherhood, the free exercise of religion, capitalism, the innocent unborn and the sanctity of the institutions of marriage and the traditional family, among others.

Considering that federal law already prohibits discrimination against women, why are radical feminists so anxious to get this treaty passed and cede jurisdiction over these questions to an international body? Obviously, they see it as a way to accomplish major parts of their extremist agenda through the back door.

Is the treaty as straightforward and harmless as its proponents claim? Listen to some of its language. “Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

Talk about broad and vague! Does “irrespective of marital status” mean lesbian relationships must be elevated to marital status, or am I reading too much into this? Well, we needn’t speculate, because we already have real life interpretations of the treaty’s provisions.

Consider these actions by the 23-member CEDAW “enforcement” committee. In 1998, the committee requested information from Mexico “on whether homosexuality is penalized in the criminal code.” In 1999, it recommended to Kyrgyzstan that “lesbianism be reconceptualized as a sexual orientation and that penalties for its practice be abolished.” This year it told Trinidad and Tobago to “consider a revision of any laws which provide punishment for sexual relations between women in order to eliminate this discrimination against women.”

The treaty’s advocates insist it is neutral on abortion. Yet the committee has repeatedly insinuated itself in the internal decisions of nations, tirelessly championing “abortion rights.” In 1998, the committee chastised Mexico for “the lack of access for women in all states to easy and swift abortion.” (That same day, by the way, the committee told Mexico it “would welcome a more equitable redistribution of wealth among the population.”)

Treaty backers say the treaty wouldn’t be binding on America because it contains no enforcement mechanism. No, they only favor it because America’s participation would lend prestige to it and encourage other nations to obey. Yeah, right, as if Saddam, whose Iraq is a signatory, would be impressed by U.S. involvement. Besides, how does it make sense that other nations will obey a treaty if America joins but doesn’t comply? That’s silly on its face.

Let’s be serious. The feminists wouldn’t be for the treaty if it weren’t likely to advance their agenda in the United States. More importantly, they conveniently ignore U.S. law. Our Constitution provides that international treaties are the supreme law of the land.

But even if there are no international enforcement teeth in the treaty yet, sympathetic congressmen and federal regulators might craft their laws and regulations, where relevant, to conform to the treaty. These laws would supersede state law on such subjects as family law, an area traditionally left to the states. And individuals in other nations (and eventually Americans) are being encouraged, by the American Bar Association and others, to use the courts to actively further CEDAW’s edicts.

I have just scratched the surface here, but this treaty is a nightmare-in-waiting for America. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently voted for the treaty and sent it to the full Senate, with every Democratic member voting for it.

Senate Democrats reportedly plan to hold the bill until close to the November elections, thinking they can demonize Republicans if they vote against anything so beneficial to women.

I say bring them on. Republicans should welcome the chance to inform voters about how pernicious this treaty is and expose these Senate Democrats as reckless stewards of American sovereignty and traditional values. If they don’t make it a political issue, Republicans should.

It’s time to turn the table on these charlatans and show the voters which party is really out of phase with mainstream Americans.