Equal Rights Treaty for People With Disabilities
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    Rick Santorum Opposes Equal Rights Treaty For People With Disabilities | ThinkProgress

    What do you think? Where is Santorum coming up with the idea that this could give the state the right to decide that a child should be aborted, which is where he seems to be going with this?

    On Tuesday afternoon, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) read a letter from former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) imploring Senate Republicans to ratify a United Nations treaty affirming equal rights for disabled individuals. Dole, who was hospitalized on Tuesday, was a World War II veteran who suffered lasting disabilities after his service.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced Monday that he plans to bring the treaty up for a vote in the Senate ? but, despite widespread support for the measure, Republicans seem bent on killing it again this time around after blocking Democrats? last attempt to ratify the treaty in August.

    Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum is leading the charge against the treaty. Santorum, whose daughter was born with a rare genetic disorder, takes issue with protections that allow the state to separate a child from a parent if ?such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child,? such as in cases of emotional or physical abuse. At a press conference with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Santorum called this ?a direct assault on us and our family.? He expanded on that point in an interview with CNN?s Piers Morgan on Monday night:

    It?s the convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities, which sounds like a wonderful thing. But the problem is there?s a provision in this international law which we would be adopting if the Senate ratifies this that puts the state, the state in the position of determining what is in the best interest of a disabled child. And as the ? as the father of a little girl who, if you look up the medical definition of her condition, says it?s incompatible with life, I hesitate to think what those in government and in charge would think that ? how our daughter should be treated and what medical treatment should be available to her if her diagnosis is ? it?s incompatible with life.

    And so this would be something unprecedented in American law to give the state the ultimate authority as to what is in the best interest of your child. Historically the United States has been clear. Parents, unless they?re unfit for some reason, get that decision. This would change under this convention, and that?s why Karen and I stood forward today and along with Mike Lee from Utah, and said we have to oppose this.

    The treaty, which bans discrimination against people with disabilities, was originally signed in 2006 under George W. Bush?s administration and re-signed in 2009 by President Obama. More than 150 nations have signed it and 126 have already ratified it, and it is backed by a range of disabilities and veterans groups as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The specific article that Santorum is concerned about actually ensures that disabled children are not separated from parents against their will or on the basis of their disability or a parent?s disability. Only in cases where a judge determines a child is being abused or neglected would a separation be allowed. This is more or less identical to the U.S.? current policy, which Santorum himself acknowledges.

    In fact, as Dana Milbank points out, the treaty requires other nations to model their laws on the Americans With Disabilities Act, which already forbids discrimination based on disability.

    The ADA ensures that Santorum?s daughter, Bella, cannot be blocked from going to school or from receiving the medical treatment and accommodations she needs. In opposing the treaty, Santorum is actually opposing those same protections for other disabled people all around the world.
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    I don't understand his objection. He said "Historically the United States has been clear. Parents, unless they?re unfit for some reason, get that decision." Which is true. But being found to be abusive would make parents unfit, whether the child is disabled or not, so what is the objection? I seriously do not understand his thought process.... Also, what does any of that have to do with abortion? Is he worried that the state would find parents unfit proactively (like while the child is still in utero) and the state would "separate the child from the parents" (aka perform an abortion?) That just seems like a huuuuuge stretch to me. If Conservatives are worried about that, are they worried about the laws for non-disabled children that allow children to be separated from their families in the case of abuse or whatever?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    I don't understand his objection. He said "Historically the United States has been clear. Parents, unless they?re unfit for some reason, get that decision." Which is true. But being found to be abusive would make parents unfit, whether the child is disabled or not, so what is the objection? I seriously do not understand his thought process.... Also, what does any of that have to do with abortion? Is he worried that the state would find parents unfit proactively (like while the child is still in utero) and the state would "separate the child from the parents" (aka perform an abortion?) That just seems like a huuuuuge stretch to me. If Conservatives are worried about that, are they worried about the laws for non-disabled children that allow children to be separated from their families in the case of abuse or whatever?
    So let's say a child is born with severe defects that require multiple surgeries, and the doctor says that they don't think the baby is going to make it so they don't want to do the surgery. What is to stop the state from stepping in and saying that the surgery is abuse since in their view it is putting the baby through more suffering, even if the parents want the surgery to try and save the babies life?
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    So let's say a child is born with severe defects that require multiple surgeries, and the doctor says that they don't think the baby is going to make it so they don't want to do the surgery. What is to stop the state from stepping in and saying that the surgery is abuse since in their view it is putting the baby through more suffering, even if the parents want the surgery to try and save the babies life?
    I guess it would depend on that state's definition of abuse. I've never heard of "abuse by medical intervention" before. But again, I would think that would be the same for disabled children or non-disabled children. If my non-disabled child were in a car accident and it would take a ton of risky surgeries to save him and doctors didn't want to do it, do you think the state would be able to step in and say that I am abusive because I want the surgeries? I just don't think that's how it works.

    Also, can't doctors refuse to perform procedures regardless of whether the state has taken custody of the child? My understanding is that doctors and hospitals can refuse to perform procedures that they think are not medically called for. It's not like I could just walk into a hospital and have them amputate my son's foot just because I am his parent and I say so.

    And I still don't see what that has to do with abortion, since in your example, we are still talking about a born child.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alissa_Sal View Post
    And I still don't see what that has to do with abortion, since in your example, we are still talking about a born child.
    I don't see abortion mentioned anywhere in the article.
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GloriaInTX View Post
    I don't see abortion mentioned anywhere in the article.
    Sorry, I had glanced at some other articles earlier and got that Rick S and other social conservatives were opposed to it based on "abortion" but I didn't understand their argument.

    This explains it:

    US Senate Poised to Vote on Disabilities Treaty | UN Dispatch

    Despite its good intentions, there is some opposition to the treaty in the United States from social conservatives who believe the treaty somehow supports abortion. The home schooling movement is also particularly concerned that the treaty will force parents to send their children to schools.

    Even the most cursory reading of the treaty, though, shows these concerns to be unfounded. There is no discussion of abortion anywhere in the document. The treaty does mention family planning and reproductive health, but only in the context of ensuring that persons with disabilities are provided equal access to these services. Because abortion is illegal in many countries around the world, UN documents rarely–if ever–cite abortion as a method of family planning. (Even the founding document of the UN agency charged with promoting reproductive health specifically excludes mention of abortion as family planning.)
    So I guess they weren't worried about disabled people being aborted so much as the potential for disabled people to get abortions if they have the same access to family planning as anyone else.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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    I am seriously not understanding why anyone would vote against this either. None of his reasons seem like valid actual points to me.
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    I another person who isn't understanding why he is against this.

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    Article 24
    Education

    1. States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and life long learning directed to:

    (a) The full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity;

    (b) The development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity, as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential;

    (c) Enabling persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a free society.

    2. In realizing this right, States Parties shall ensure that:

    (a) Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability;

    (b) Persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live;

    (c) Reasonable accommodation of the individual's requirements is provided;

    (d) Persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education;

    (e) Effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion.

    3. States Parties shall enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community. To this end, States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including:

    (a) Facilitating the learning of Braille, alternative script, augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication and orientation and mobility skills, and facilitating peer support and mentoring;

    (b) Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf community;

    (c) Ensuring that the education of persons, and in particular children, who are blind, deaf or deafblind, is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and means of communication for the individual, and in environments which maximize academic and social development.

    4. In order to help ensure the realization of this right, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to employ teachers, including teachers with disabilities, who are qualified in sign language and/or Braille, and to train professionals and staff who work at all levels of education. Such training shall incorporate disability awareness and the use of appropriate augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, educational techniques and materials to support persons with disabilities.

    5. States Parties shall en
    sure that persons with disabilities are able to access general tertiary education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning without discrimination and on an equal basis with others. To this end, States Parties shall ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities.

    Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    One reason that I believe this is being opposed is the fear that it will make it so that it is illegal or harder to homeschool disabled children.

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    But that is not what that means. It means that people with disabilities cannot be excluded from free public education and that accommodations are made for their disability.

    For example, my daughter has access to free public preschool with educational supports along with speech and occupational therapy. We are not required to take it. I could have home schooled her and brought her to a private ST and OT but we have chosen this route.

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