- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 20, 2000

Anyone wanting to understand the Clinton administration's true social agenda should spend some time watching the United States negotiate at the United Nations. The documents being negotiated are intended to shape international law, and international law is intruding, to a greater and greater degree, into the domestic arena. Nevertheless, there are few spectators and very little press coverage of United Nations proceedings. Most Americans ignore the United Nations. Consequently, the Clinton State Department feels free to take positions it would never openly espouse to the American public.
For example, during the same week in 1996 that Bill Clinton was signing the Defense of Marriage Act telling the American people he believed that marriage should be heterosexual his State Department was at the United Nations Habitat Conference in Istanbul promoting language which would have required legal recognition of homosexual marriage.
Last year, after the Columbine tragedy, Mr. Clinton was publicly calling on parents to exercise more control over their teen-age children. Simultaneously, however, U.S. diplomats negotiating at the United Nations "Cairo +5" conference were systematically trying to dismantle the legal framework of parental rights which allows parents to exercise such control.
The U.S. performance at last week's Beijing +5 women's conference was another example of the Clinton administration's two-faced approach to social policy at the United Nations.
During the final hours of negotiations, debate opened on language calling for efforts to strengthen the family, the fundamental unit of society. The proposal rested on solid data showing that breakup of the family overwhelmingly leads to the impoverishment of women, and that little girls are safest from abuse and exploitation when they live in an intact family.
But the United States immediately proposed an amendment calling not for "stronger families," but for government "support" (read "welfare") for poor families. The United States also proposed language allowing for alternative "families," such as homosexual couples. When the United States failed to win support for its amendment, the delegation called for total deletion of the pro-family language. It was deleted.
As tenaciously as Mr. Clinton's State Department resisted any positive reference to the family throughout the Beijing +5 negotiations, it was equally tenacious in resisting any negative reference to prostitution. During the negotiations, the United States continually maneuvered to avoid explicit condemnation of prostitution, pornography and even pedophilia.
When asked for an explanation of his delegation's pro-prostitution stance, one U.S. diplomat claimed it was taken out of deference to countries whose laws permit prostitution. The United States showed no such deference, however, to countries whose laws prohibit homosexual behavior, pushing aggressively for a provision calling for repeal of all such laws.
The United States also promoted unlimited "sexual rights," even for minors, and for increased sex education and access to "reproductive health services" meaning contraception and abortion for youngsters. At the same time, however, the United States resisted any mention of the right of parents to guide the upbringing of their children in these matters.
While the official Clinton position when speaking to the folks at home is that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare," the United States pushed hard at the United Nations for expansion of "access" to abortion, which can only be a call for more abortion. The United States called for more abortionists, by increasing "training" for abortion, without allowing for doctors' "rights of conscience." The United States also supported veiled language aimed at making unfettered abortion a "human right," which would override national sovereignty and laws.
Last, but certainly not least, the United States called for universal ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Against Women, or CEDAW a treaty which the United States itself has not ratified. On this point, at least, the Clinton administration is consistent when speaking to Americans, having lobbied openly for U.S. ratification of CEDAW. CEDAW is the most potent international anti-family weapon currently in effect. It is a binding instrument which calls for government intrusion into all facets of life, no matter how private, consensual, or even sacred.
The leftist spin emanating from the Beijing +5 negotiations blamed a handful of developing nations and the Holy See for blocking negotiations, and smeared those delegations as anti-woman. In truth, the stumbling block was the persistent focus by the Clinton administration and its allies on undoing the traditional family and creating controversial "rights" that don't enjoy popular support even in the United States, and which are completely immaterial to most women of the developing world.
In the end, the most radical proposals put forward by the United States and its allies were defeated by a coalition of developing world nations who stood up to the Western powers. In the end, they grew stronger and gathered more support, and the United States capitulated. Ironically, these nations actually won a victory, not only for themselves, but for the majority of the American people who still believe in the family, and the traditional morality which supports it.

Kathryn Balmforth is executive director of the World Family Center.

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