International abortion rights top the list of hot issues to come before September's United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women.

U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith (R.-N.J.), a leader in the pro-life movement, believes Beijing is an ironic place to hold a conference dictating international women's-rights policies. "This is a singularly inappropriate place to hold a conference on the status of women, given [that China] is a place that is known for widespread violations of the rights of women, especially through its coercive population control program, which makes widespread use of forced abortion and forced sterilization." Smith's objective is to resist the standardization of international abortion rights.

Evangelical leaders have lined up to oppose the un conference, saying its aim is to radically restructure society. Focus on the Family president James Dobson last month said its goals include elimination of gender distinctions and "the complete destruction of the family." In a speech at a Focus-sponsored family congress, he called the Beijing conference "the greatest threat to the family in my lifetime."

"They absolutely hate the [traditional] family, the radical feminists who are behind this thing," Dobson said.

Diane Knippers, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C., is critical of the official "agenda for women's empowerment" goal of the Draft Platform for Action. "One of the most amazing things is the idea that the only way we can achieve peace and development in the world is if women represent 50 percent of all parliaments and economic decision-making bodies."

Leading Christian observers say a negative view of family and full-time motherhood permeates much of the feminist leadership of both ...

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