Senate Dems to revive U.N. treaty home-schoolers, pro-lifers despise

Senate Democrats plan to try again to ratify a treaty opposed by many home-schoolers, pro-life groups and conservatives, according to a report in The Hill.

Citing a Democratic Senate aide, The Hill reported Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is going to try to revive the treaty, signed by President Obama in 2009, but turned down by the Senate in 2012..

“We believe very much there is a path forward for victory,” Marca Bristo, president of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, told The Hill. “If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be putting in this effort.”

homeschoolsRatification of the treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, failed last year, five votes short of the two-thirds majority required.

Opponents, led by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., argue that the treaty would put the federal government – rather than parents – in charge of decisions about disabled children because it would require member countries to act “in the best interests” of children with disabilities.

Because the “best interests” would be determined by the U.N., the federal government enforcing it would have ultimate power over decisions about disabled children, treaty opponents say, including whether they should be home-schooled or placed in public schools.

Americans with disabilities don’t need the U.N., the argue: parents, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, are protection enough.

“Parents know best how to care for their children with disabilities,” wrote J. Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, in a May letter when it was mistakenly believed a hearing had been set for ratification.

“U.S. law is currently the gold standard for ensuring that people with disabilities are protected and able to participate in all areas of U.S. society,” Smith wrote.

Pro-life groups also object to the treaty because it would guarantee the “the right of all persons with disabilities to … have access to age appropriate information, reproductive and family planning education and the means necessary to enable them to exercise these rights …”

“Simply put, the government must pay for Planned Parenthood-styled education and then fully fund all medical services needed for such matters,” HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris wrote in an analysis of the treaty in September.

“This is an explicit requirement for full funding of abortion services,” he wrote.

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