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Mike Lee U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) (C), former GOP presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association hold a news conference to voice their opposition to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities November 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. In 2008 the Santorum's eighth child, Isabella, was born and diagnosed with Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18), a serious genetic disorder, with only a 10% chance of survival past one year old. Following the second hospitalization of Isabella in a few months, Santorum officially suspended his campaign for the presidency in June of 2012.

Santorum joins Sen. Lee to oppose UN treaty on disabled rights

At a press conference on Monday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) joined former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association to voice opposition to a United Nations treaty regarding the rights of people with disabilities.

The three men said the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) would undermine parental rights and threaten U.S. sovereignty. They also claimed the treaty would not help disabled individuals in the U.S. because the the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 already exceeds U.N. standards.

“Our concerns with this convention have nothing to do with any lack of concern for the rights of persons with disabilities,” Lee said. “They have everything to do with protecting U.S. sovereignty, protecting the interests of parents in the United States and the interests of families.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said the Senate would begin consideration of CRPD this week. However, thirty-six Senate Republicans have signed a letter written by Lee in September, vowing to oppose the treaty during the lame-duck session of Congress. The treaty must be ratified by a two-thirds vote, giving Republicans the ability to block it.

Writing for the Washington Post, Dana Milbank noted that Republican opposition to the treaty seemed to have more to do with their general fear of the United Nations than opposition to the rights of the disabled.

“The opponents argue that the treaty, like most everything the United Nations does, undermines American sovereignty — in this case via a plot to keep Americans from home-schooling their children and making other decisions about their well-being,” Milbank said.

Farris described the treaty as “a warm-up act for other UN treaties, chief of which is the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).” His organization opposes CRC because it purportedly would prohibit children from being subjected to corporal punishment, require governments to register children immediately after birth, and mandate accessibility to health care services for children.

The Home School Legal Defense Fund also claims CRC would give children the right to “listen to rock music, watch television, and even have access to pornography,” as well as having the right to choose their own religion and freely associate with others.

“The United Nations and globalists are determined to impose their agenda on American families,” Farris said at the press conference.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national civil rights groups, supports CRPD. The group said the treaty would extend American standards to the rest of the world.

“The CRPD seeks to ensure that countries across the globe provide people with disabilities with the same rights as everyone else, so that they can live full, satisfying, and productive lives. To this end, the CRPD will create greater access for individuals serving, working, traveling, and studying abroad,” the group wrote in a letter to the Senate.

“Furthermore, ratification of the treaty will reflect U.S. commitment to disability rights and core American values such as the dignity of the individual, access to justice, and the right to education.”


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