EDITORIAL: Dangers of U.N. disabilities treaty

Proposed pact is a challenge to U.S. sovereignty

Americans are second to none when it comes to showing compassion for those in need. Yet the United States could soon find itself taking orders from international bureaucrats on how to treat people with disabilities. We don’t need the help.

On Wednesday, the United Nations kicks off its fifth conference on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), a treaty already ratified by 153 countries. The event is being held in New York to pressure U.S. lawmakers to make it the law of the land here, too. The Democratic-controlled Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsed the agreement in July with a 13-6 vote, and the full Senate could take up ratification at any time.

The CRPD is an invitation to join U.N. internationalists on the slippery slope away from sovereignty. Article 4 of the pact calls on signatories to “undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability.” Shifty lawyers can interpret such loose legal language in unexpected ways. For example, U.N. bureaucrats could call on the federal government to supply every wheelchair-bound citizen with a motorized model, or proclaim that each home must be wheelchair-accessible.

Democrats and Republicans take opposing positions on the the treaty. President Obama is urging the Senate for ratification. The Republican platform unveiled at the national convention several weeks ago rejected the pact along with other U.N. treaties “whose long-range impact on the American family is ominous or unclear.” Should the disabilities treaty remain unratified and Democrats get their clock cleaned in November, Republican President Mitt Romney would urge a GOP-majority Senate to ensure it stays that way.

The agreement’s Article 7 directs, “States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them … .” Families beware: “Ratification of the CRPD would fundamentally alter the parent-child relationship in any family where the child has a disability,” writes home-school advocate Michael Farris. Senators shouldn’t have to be warned that Americans don’t take kindly to government busybodies insinuating themselves between parents and their children. Mothers and fathers of disabled kids — not Uncle Sam — are best prepared to meet the needs and “views” of their children.

Pro-life advocates see a potential abortion mandate in the pact. Article 25 orders signatories “to provide persons with disabilities with the same range, quality and standard of free or affordable health care and programs as provided other persons, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based public-health programs.” Senate Democrats insist the treaty wouldn’t override U.S. law on abortion, but pro-lifers worry the sweeping language could do exactly that. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, attempted to add an amendment that would exclude abortion from the phrase “sexual and reproductive health,” but it was defeated in committee.

Americans don’t need advice from the U.N. on how to protect the rights of the disabled.

The Washington Times

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