Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Are You Serious?" Awards - Volume XXII: The Concerned Mama Bear Edition

The world is filled with well-intentioned people on a mission to right injustices and create the aura of acceptance in a cruel, self-serving culture.

We need those people.  We need those intentions.  Without them, the world would be void of Clara Barton's American Red Cross or Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Special Olympics.

However, there can be times where good intentions create unintended consequences.  Those unintended consequences can prove to do more harm than the good originally intended.  Case in point, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).  Proponents of this UN treaty basically laud it as an international version of the American's with Disability Act (ADA), a civil rights law that nearly all of us would agree is a fabulous piece of anti-discrimination legislation offering protection and opportunities otherwise previously denied.  Yet, there are some serious troubles with the United States ratifying this well-intended treaty.

 Are you SERIOUS?!

The language of the UNCRPD is the major stumbling point in ratification.  It makes any nation signing the treaty subject to the UN in 2 dozen areas including medical care, education, and independent living.  Most unsettling to me is the fact that the treaty gives the United Nations, not parents, final authority.  The UN gets to decide what is in the best interest of my child, not me.

Those in favor of the treaty shake their heads in disgust at mothers like me.  They claim it is far fetched, even crazy, to think the UN will intervene with our children who have chronic illness or special needs.

To those people I would just point out one name -- Justina Pelletier.  You have read in Volume XII of the "Are You Serious?" Awards about this frightening case where a girl was removed from the custody of her parents after they had brought her in to an ER for emergency treatment for her mitrochondrial disorder.  Over a year later, she has not been returned to her family, has gone from being a competitive figure skater to being confined to a wheelchair, and has missed nearly 2 years of school.  This is a classic example of what happens when bureaucrats who don't know our kids intervene in the name of "the best interest of the child".

As an American citizen, I as a parent can now make different educational choices for my child if the current course of study isn't proving suitable, I can change doctors if they are not appropriately addressing my child's health issues, and I can decline involvement in research or therapies that might be in direct conflict with my faith.  All of that stands threatened under ratification of such a treaty.  While the UN holds no authority to enforce the mandates of its treaty, there is enough international pressure behind their decrees to force the US government's hand.

Furthermore, with the US being the world leader in disability rights, our nation derives not one benefit from ratifying this UN treaty.  In my mind, it is yet another "feel good" action that seeks to merely make us look like good guys around the world.  It gains us nothing.

Parents, there are many organizations advocating for us to contact our lawmakers urging them to ratify this treaty.  I would encourage you to stop, think, and find out all the facts before you decide to make such a call.  Take the time to listen to Senator Orrin Hatch detail below the concerns with the UNCRPD.  It will, at the very least, help you to see both sides of the story.

*For further exploration:  Dole, Harkin Renew Disability Treaty Push After SCOTUS Decision, Roll Call, June 3, 2014; Bad News: UN Disabilities Treaty Has Returned—Stronger than Ever, HSLDA, June 12, 2014.

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