How Unhinged Rhetoric Sank a Disabilities Rights Treaty in the Senate

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities failed to capture the 2/3 vote needed for ratification in the U.S. Senate today due to fierce Republican opposition. Many Republicans and their allies in the conservative movement claimed that the treaty codifies abortion into law, even though that preposterous claim was rejected by the National Right to Life Committee and Sen. John McCain. Along with the false charges about abortion, opponents of the treaty claimed it will undermine U.S. sovereignty and harm children. Critics like Rick Santorum warned that the treaty may kill his disabled daughter; Glenn Beck said it could create a “fascistic” government and Sen. Jim Inhofe alleged the treaty would help groups with “anti-American biases.”

One of the lesser-known but extremely active opponents of the bill was homeschooling activist Michael Farris.

During an interview with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, he claimed that the treaty will prompt the United Nations to ‘get control’ of children with glasses or ADHD and remove them from their families.

Farris: They’re called living documents, just like the disgraced living Constitution theory, which means the treaty doesn’t mean today what it’s going to mean tomorrow what it’s going to mean ten years from now. So you never know what you’re signing up for, that by itself is a good enough reason to leave it alone and to never enter into one of these things. But in particular, you hit the nail on the head Tony, the definition of disability is not defined in the treaty. My kid wears glasses, now they’re disabled, now the UN gets control over them; my child’s got a mild case of ADHD, now you’re under control of the UN treaty. There’s no definitional standard, it can change over time, and the UN, not American policymakers, are the ones who get it decided.

While speaking with the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, the two warned that the treaty could lead to the deaths of disabled children, all the while admitting they have no evidence it would do such beyond their pure speculation.

Fischer: Disabled newborn babies in the UK are being put, oftentimes overriding the wishes of parents, on this death pathway where no matter what the parents want the doctors say this kid cannot live, severely disabled, too many congenital deformities, we think the best thing for this kid is just to be starved and dehydrated to death. It seems to me that although that’s not specifically contemplated in this treaty that could be an outcome.

Farris: Whether they thought about it or not, that’s exactly what Rick Santorum said in our press conference. He was holding his daughter Bella and she’s of the category of child that in Britain they would take that position because her official diagnosis is ‘incompatible with life.’ So when the doctor gets to decide, the doctor empowered by the government—these doctors aren’t doing it on their own, they are doing it because the government says they have the power to do it—the doctor/government deciding what they think is best for the child. It goes to the point of deciding whether the child lives or dies, it is that crazy. If we want to live in a Brave New World like that where the bureaucrats and the government and the UN all tell us what to do, fine, but this is the beginning of the end of American self-government if we go here, it’s just crazy, we cannot let this happen.

After warning that the treaty will kill children, Farris told conservative talk show host Steve Deace that the treaty will create a “cradle-to-grave care for the disabled” and said if the U.S. ratifies it “signing up to be an official socialist nation.” Farris claimed that the treaty will treat the parents of disabled children like child abusers in order to grow government power and implement “coercive socialism.”

“Everybody in America will be living under is socialism as an international entitlement” if the treaty passes, Farris maintained, “it’s a way to make the socialist, liberal, amoral element a permanent feature of our law.” Deace agreed and said the treaty will “due in freedom and liberty.”

Farris: Every parent with a disabled child is going to be in the same legal position as if they’d been convicted of child abuse. We are taking away parental decision-making power in that area. The other thing that everybody in America will be living under is socialism as an international entitlement. The United States resisted all the UN treaties of a certain category that began being proliferated in the 1960s; the first was the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights. Our country said no that is coercive socialism, we’re not going to do that. So we rejected all those treaties ever since 1966. Yet we’re signing up now for our first economic, social and cultural treaty which means as a matter of international binding law that goes to the supremacy clause level in our Constitution, we’re signing up to be an official socialist nation, cradle-to-grave care for the disabled. Maybe Americans want to do that, but I think we’d want to do it as a matter of domestic law, not as a matter of international law. I personally don’t think that’s any business of Congress to do that sort of thing but I certainly don’t want to be doing it when the United Nations tells us to do it. So those are two big ways it will affect every American and there are more.

Deace: Michael Farris is here with us from Patrick Henry College, also from the Home School Legal Defense Association, talking about another attempt to usurp American sovereignty, to essentially do an end-run around the Constitution and then of course due in freedom and liberty through an effort through the United Nations.



Farris: If they can get this one through, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, CEDAW, which is the women’s treaty with all kinds of junk in that one, and then a whole host of other UN treaties that the Obama administration wants to send our way, it’s a way to make the socialist, liberal, amoral element a permanent feature of our law through the use of treaties and they are going to do a full-force attack. We’ve got to stop them now. It’s not like just the camel nose in the tent, it is that too, but we don’t want a camel’s nose in our constitutional system, that’s what we don’t want.
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