LifeSite News

In an initial report on Estonia by the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, one of the 23 UN “experts” said, “Abortions in many cases were hazardous to women’s health.” In responding to Estonia’s report on its compliance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the expert (unnamed in the UN report) noted that, “Aside from physical complications, termination of pregnancy could entail psychological problems. It could also lead to infertility.”

The UN report went on to tackle “family life”, with one expert noting the high divorce rates in Estonia and asking, “Were efforts being made to reconcile spouses? Because marriage helped to stabilize society, this trend was worrisome.”

Kaye Balmforth, an attorney and expert in international human Rights, who has followed CEDAW’s workings for many years, told LifeSite she was surprised by the report. “If this stands, it will be the first truly realistic and sensible comment on family life and abortion that I have seen in a CEDAW report,” said Balmforth. In her former position as executive director of the World Family Policy Centre at Brigham Young University, she had called for close scrutiny of CEDAW.

While these few noted comments near the very end of the report are encouraging, the many other statements from so-called experts exhibit the old UN extreme feminism which has been characteristic of CEDAW reports for many years. However, the mere mention of some sensible suggestions by the UN Committee is encouraging to those who have been working for years to that end.

The UN report says “several experts expressed deep concern over the statement in the report that women’s reproductive rights were protected by the Termination of Pregnancy and Sterilization Act. It was inconceivable that there were 98 abortions for every 100 births.” An expert told the Estonian representative that, “As far as the Convention was concerned, however, abortion was not a part of women’s reproductive rights.” This is not at all the interpretation that has held by experts in CEDAW reports on other countries.