The Senate is considering what seems on its face like a non-controversial UN treaty: the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. But it is controversial or it ought to be! I have blogged on this before. (Remember Sandy’s rule on UN Treaties: Bad UN law is repetitious!)
But as Heritage Foundation testified today before Congress, it is unnecessary and unwise (this is from their blog not their testimony):
If the U.S. were to ratify the CRPD, U.S. policies would be subjected to the oversight and commentary of the CRPD committee, which could issue unlimited recommendations that the U.S. would be expected to implement. This prospect should be especially concerning to the parents and caregivers of disabled Americans, whose decision making authority would be subjected to the pronouncements of international “experts” and whose rights would be undermined by the CRPD’s language concerning the “best interests of the child” and its lack of explicit protection of parental rights.
Other language in the CRPD is troubling, too, such as its lack of a clear definition of disability, which it defines as “an evolving concept.” Although seemingly beyond the scope of a treaty dealing with rights and protections of the disabled, the CRPD also revisits the recurring and contentious U.N. debates surrounding the definitions of “reproductive health” and “reproductive rights” as they relate to so-called abortion rights.
In spite of specific statements made by CRPD signatories that the inclusion of the phrase “sexual and reproductive health” is not intended to include abortion, U.N. officials and other abortion advocates have pointed to the CRPD to further build their case in favor of abortion as a human right.
The U.S. Senate should decline to ratify the CRPD, as ratifying it would subject the U.S. to untold threats against its sovereignty and invite further intrusion by U.N. officials into sensitive social and domestic policies. If the rights of disabled Americans need further protection or clarification, Congress and state governments should seek remedies through the appropriate legislative processes.
Parental Rights (parentalrights.org) also says no and I respect greatly Dr. Michael Farris’ legal analysis:
This pro-parent view of human rights [in the original Universal Declaration of Human Rights for example] has given way to a decidedly different view in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and now in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The UNCRPD incorporates several key elements from the UNCRC that, as I will demonstrate, lead to the conclusion that parental
rights in the education of disabled children are supplanted by a new theory of governmental oversight and superiority. In short,
government agents, and not parents, are being given the authority to decide all educational and treatment issues for disabled children.
All of the rights that parents have under both traditional American law and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will be
undermined by this treaty.
Article 7 is the key. Sections 2 and 3 directly parallel provisions of the UNCRC.
2. In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
3. States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters
affecting them, their views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity, on an equal basis
with other children, and to be provided with disability and age appropriate assistance to realize that right.
Section 2 directly parallels Article 2(1) of the CRC. Section 3 closely follows Article 12(1) of the CRC.
The “best interest of the child” standard is a familiar one to anyone who has ever participated in family or juvenile law in American
courts. However, in that context it is a dispositional standard. This means that after a parent has been convicted of abusing or
neglecting their child, then and only then can the government substitute its view of what it best for the child for that of the parent.
Or in the divorce context, once a judge determines the family unit is broken, the judge must settle the contest between the competing
parents and decide for herself what she thinks is in the best interest of the child.
In an intact family, where there is no proof of abuse or neglect, government agents—whether school officials, social workers, or
judges—cannot substitute their judgment of what is best for a child over the objection of the parents.
What Dr. Farris is saying is the best interest of the child standard, used in US law only if abuse or divorce or separation, would be the law of the land in ALL cases. UN bureaucrats (actually it would be a liberal family court judge acting under the authority of this treaty and following UN guidelines) could decide what is best for YOUR child. I know not what others might say but I say NEVER!
The Obama administration predictably as usual comes with testimony that…that…that (Keep it clean and classy, Sandy. I know it’s tempting!) I feel is not in keeping with the facts (There – is that classy enough!):
Ratification is a win-win, as protections in the United States would not need to be changed, and joining would not affect U.S. sovereignty. Ratification would open up opportunities for U.S. citizens, organizations, and businesses abroad, including our disabled youth, who rightly expect to be full participants in shaping our world’s future.
This is not accurate: Our sovereignty will be threatened by reports to foreigners and potentially liberal judges bringing foreign law to the United States to “enforce” the treaty. The treaty does set up enforceable rights that are not necessarily congruent with US law. The Constitution is clear that treaties are the supreme law of the land and the state judges must obey all treaties. Here is Article VI, Section 1, paragraph 2:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
And why do we want to meddle in other nations’ business? Being “full participants in shaping our world’s future”? I can influence other nations with this blog but it is private, not government. I do not want the United States telling other nations what to do. Here is Senator Webb’s number: 202.224.4024; call him. I am told by parentalrights.org in an email that 26 million other people got that the treaty is up for a vote in the FULL SENATE this month:
Senator John Kerry announced yesterday that he plans to pass the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities before July 26—just 13 days from today. He has scheduled a formal committee vote next Thursday—July 19. This is an unprecedented attempt to jam a binding international treaty through the Senate without proper time for debate or consideration.
Call Senator Webb today! Tell his people that you know he is a patriotic American who once worked for President Reagan and will do what’s right. And what’s right is to vote no on CRPD. His number is 202.224.4024.