The Times' take on the UN anti-abortion effort by BushCo:
t a moment when the United States should be leading the world on advancing women's equality, the Bush administration chose instead to alienate government ministers and 6,000 other delegates at an important United Nations conference on that issue with a burst of anti-abortion zealotry this week.
The two-week session is being held to reinvigorate efforts to improve women's lives a decade after a landmark U.N. conference in Beijing. The organizers had hoped to keep a tight focus on urgent challenges like sexual trafficking, educational inequities and the spread of AIDS.
The first order of business was to be quick approval of a simple statement reaffirming the Beijing meeting's closing declaration. But on Monday, the Americans created turmoil by announcing that the United States would not join the otherwise universal consensus unless the document was amended to say that it did not create "any new international human rights" or "include the right to abortion."
This was shabby and mischievous. For one thing, the Beijing statement was nonbinding. For another, the Beijing negotiators had tried to anticipate controversy by recognizing unsafe abortions as a serious public health issue while leaving the question of legality up to each nation.
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