The U.N. Treaty on Rights for the Disabled fell short of ratification on December 4th by a vote of 61 to 38, not receiving the two thirds vote needed to pass. The negotiations for the treaty were finalized under the Bush administration and sign by Barack Obama in 2009. The senate need a two thirds majority to pass treaties.
Many veterans have been in favor of the legislation but opposition has arisen from senators who feel that it may have implications on abortion and homeschooling. Senator Rick Santorum fears that it could eventually lead to forced abortions in the instances of babies in the womb that are found to have disabilities such as Trisomy 18 which his daughter was born with. Writing in World Net Daily recently he stated:
“In the case of our 4-year-old daughter, Bella, who has Trisomy 18, a condition that the medical literature says is ‘incompatible with life,’ would her ‘best interest’ be that she be allowed to die?” he asked. “Some would undoubtedly say so.”
The problem lies in leaving ourselves under the jurisdiction of international laws that we may not agree with. Who is to say what the U.N. may decide in the future that this law means.
The homeschool community is concerned that what happens in our homes may be controlled by international bureaucrats.
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK):
“I do oppose the CRPD because I think it does impinge upon our sovereignty. Unelected bureaucratic bodies would implement the treaty and pass so-called recommendations that would be forced upon the United Nations and the U.S. … This would especially affect those parents who home-school their children. … The unelected foreign bureaucrats, not parents, would decide what is in the best interests of the disabled child, even in the home.”
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) on the Senate floor:
"We all want to support the best interest of the the child, every child. But I and many of my constituents, including those who home school their children or send their children to private or religious schools, have justifiable doubts that a foreign U.N. body, a committee operating out of Geneva, Switzerland should decide what is in the best interest of the child at home with his or her parents in Utah or in any other state in our great union."
Senate Democrats plan to revisit this treaty in the new year when the new congress is seated. They feel with the new makeup of congress they may have the votes to pass the treaty.
You can see the specific objections to the treaty at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) web site in an article by Michael Farris. You can find out how your senator voted at the Senate web site.
We need to stay vigilant on this treaty as well as others that are coming in the future. The homeschool community needs to stand together in order to protect the rights of all homeschoolers.