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Senate Debating Treaty that Threatens Parental Rights

E000072The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has confirmed that it is once again holding hearings on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a treaty that strips away the rights of parents of children with disabilities.

According to a press release from the Home School Legal Defense Association, (HSLDA), this is the same treaty that failed to pass in a Senate vote last year largely because of strong opposition from parental rights and disability rights advocates. Signed by President Obama in 2009, the Senate is taking up the issue again this week.

"We all want to show our love and care for people with disabilities," said Michael Farris, founder and chairman of the HSLDA. "This treaty, however, is not the way to do it. This treaty will give United Nations and government agents, not parents, the authority to decide all educational and treatment issues for disabled children. All of the rights that parents have under traditional American law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will be undermined by this treaty."

Farris pointed out that while supporters of the treaty say it will not override American law, a recent decision in Hungary showed exactly how the treaty will look if ratified in the United States. In this case, the Hungarian constitution did not allow intellectually disabled persons to vote if they were under legal guardianship, but proponents were able to use Article 29 of the CRPD to overrule the Hungarian constitution.

"Determining a policy for allowing those with profound intellectual disabilities to exercise the right to vote is a complex and sensitive issue," Farris said, "but what we know for sure is this: America's legislators -- and not a UN committee -- should make this kind of policy decision."

The CRPD also puts at risk a parents' right to homeschool a child with disabilities.

"Parents in the United States are finding that homeschooling benefits their children with disabilities in more ways than a one-size-fits-all approach can ever achieve. The CRPD puts those rights at risk," Farris said.

" . . . We are urging people to call their senators and voice their opposition to the treaty," said William Estrada, the Director of Federal Relations at HSLDA. "This is especially important if your senator is on the Foreign Relations Committee."

The following senators are on the Foreign Relations Committee: Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NM), Edward Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Edward Shaheen (D-NH), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bob Corker (R-TN), Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Risch (R-ID), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), John McCain (R-AZ), John Barrasso (R-WY), Rand Paul (R-KY), Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Senators Paul and Rubio have already shown strong opposition to the treaty.

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