On November 26, parental rights advocates looked on in dismay as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate will vote this weeks, possibly as early as Wednesday, to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) treaty.
CRPD calls for numerous protections for people with disabilities, many of which are already provided for in the U.S. by the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, it is the additional provisions included in the treaty which concern many U.S. citizens. If ratified, the CRPD would become the supreme law of the land under the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause in Article VI, would trump state laws, and would be used as binding precedent by state and federal judges.
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) Chairman Mike Farris has been rallying opposition to the treaty by reminding voters that "Americans should make the law for America."
He argues that the CRPD would transform the parent-child relationship by establishing a new legal standard found in Article 7 of the treaty: "In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration."
"Parental rights will be eviscerated by the mandatory application of the 'best interest of the child' standard," Farris said. "If parents think that private education is best for their child, the CRPD gives the government the authority to override that judgment and keep the child in the government-approved program that officials think is best."
The CRPD was signed by President Obama in July of 2009, but it has not received the necessary two-thirds approval from the United States Senate for ratification. Recently, however, the president has placed additional pressure on the Senate to ratify the treaty.
"The question is, who should make critical decisions regarding the care and raising of children who have disabilities? Their parents or United Nations social workers?" President of HSLDA J. Michael Smith said. "There is no need for the CRPD, as our nation's state and federal laws already protect our precious loved ones with disabilities. It is outrageous that U.S. senators would support a treaty that surrenders U.S. sovereignty and family integrity to unelected UN bureaucrats."
Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Visit them online at www.HSLDA.org.
In related news, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is also now threatening to use the very approach he criticized harshly just a few years ago. Reid is en route to doing the very thing he criticized the Republicans for considering; he wants to use the so-called "nuclear option" to disarm the GOP. Mr. Reid wants to use the option to dismember the filibuster, allowing his majority party to strip the minority party of a vital tool of dissent without considering the minority's vote.
Update Dec. 4, 2012
The Senate voted down a United Nations (UN) treaty Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 that would have compromised parental rights regarding how best to care for children with disabilities.
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