Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


Sanford J. Fox


The ratification of treaties governing human rights often raises the question of whether obligations imposed by the treaty are compatible with the existing domestic law of the ratifying state. One common way of resolving such conflicts is for the State to avoid undertaking the inconsistent legal obligation by qualifying its acceptance of the treaty with a reservation, even when domestic law already provides for resolving such conflicts. Another measure that may be adopted, particularly where the treaty provision at issue is cast in general terms, is for the ratifying state to include a Declaration or an Understanding (RUD) with its acceptance that sets forth an interpretation of the general terms consistent with domestic law on the subject.

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether any such RUDs are called for in the ratification by the United States of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child' in order to avoid a conflict between the treaty and domestic U. S. law governing abortions.