Friday, October 21, 2005

Ellen R. Sauerbrey

Sauerbrey is Bush's nominee for Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. The job of the assistant secretary is to oversee the U.S. refugee assistance and admission programs. Sauerbrey is an interesting choice for this position as she is largely known as an avid anti-abortion voice in the United Nations where she is the current U.S. Ambassador to the Commission on the Status of Women. Her experience with the problems of managing refugees appears to be roughly zero. Instead, she is famous for the following:

* She has not only repeatedly stated her opposition to the right to choose abortion but has also declared that abortion is not a legitimate element of reproductive health assistance.

* She approves of President Bush's withholding of funding to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, charging that the money is "being used for coercive abortions in China," despite numerous findings to the contrary.

* Sauerbrey has also denied that adolescents have any right to exercise autonomous control over their reproductive health and has called abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education the healthiest and most responsible method of HIV prevention suitable for adolescents.

Along with opposing reproductive health and rights, Sauerbrey has taken extremist positions on other women's rights issues in the context of the United Nations.

In her role at the U.N. she has opposed ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a United Nations treaty agreed to by more than 180 countries (excluding the United States), and has also objected to language in U.N. documents that requires countries to "condemn violence against women and refrain from invoking any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination as set out in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women."

Nothing really new in any of this. The Bush administration has been waging a war against the poor women of this world from day one, and it has always been clear that the religious wingnuts will be thrown some crumbs in the form of those women's lives who can't vote in the United States. Also, nominating incompetent people is fairly routine.

I just wanted to point out that this stuff is going on all the time, under the radar of most of us, that the wingnuts love it and that us nasty feminazis don't love it. If you want to protest Sauerbrey's nomination, check out