Following the first hearing in eight years on US ratification of an international treaty that will promote women’s rights across the globe, the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a vote on the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) for Thursday.
CEDAW defines discrimination and gives states a plan of action to ensure that the rights of women are equal to men. So far, 169 countries have ratified CEDAW, pledging to give women equal rights in all aspects of their lives including political, health, educational, social and legal. The United States is among the 22 countries that have yet to ratify the treaty – keeping company with such notorious women’s rights abusers as the Taliban’s Afghanistan, Monaco and Sudan.
In other Congressional news, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution voted 8-3 yesterday to mark up the so-called partial abortion ban. The Judiciary Committee will consider the bill that aims to outlaw a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal medical procedure next Wednesday, and full floor consideration could follow at any time after that.
Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to extend prenatal care to low-income pregnant women through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). An anti-choice amendment filed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Don Nickles (R-OK) to codify the Bush Administration’s controversial regulations making the “unborn child” – rather than the pregnant women – the SCHIP client, was not offered. With a strong showing from the pro-choice side, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on two reproductive-rights-related issues – refusal clauses and parental consent for family-planning services.