Santorum spreads fear on disability treaty
What does home-schooling have to do with a U.N. treaty on disabilities? Former Sen. Rick Santorum claims that support for the proposed treaty would relinquish U.S. sovereignty to the U.N. panel monitoring a ban on discrimination and determining how the disabled, including children, should be treated. Somehow, that extended to concerns that the committee could violate the rights of parents who home-school their children with disabilities.
Yes, it’s a stretch, but Santorum – calling it a direct assault on parents of children with disabilities – managed to pressure 38 Republican senators, including Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., into voting against the treaty. They did so as former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole looked on from his wheelchair. The injured World War II veteran was there in support of the treaty.
Not all Senate Republicans bought into the paranoia, however. Sen. Richard Lugar was one voice of reason.
With these provisions, the United States can join the convention as an expression – an expression – of our leadership on disability rights without ceding any of our ability to decide for ourselves how best to address those issue in our law, he said before voting in favor of the treaty.
Supporters hope the treaty will be reconsidered by the next Congress.