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Protecting the Rights of Parents and Their Children

Protecting the Rights of Parents and Their Children

We are the proud parents of seven wonderful children ages four to 21.  And, as parents do, we've discovered over the course of many years that being a parent is a lifetime of hard work and commitment; an incredibly rich and rewarding gift.

But, as parents do, we've also made our share of mistakes along the way. Indeed, through trial and error, ups and downs, patience and love, we have grown as parents and have learned what works best for our children and for our family.

It is through this experience that we have come to know and understand that it is not the government that knows what is best for our children, but that we do.

It seems, however, that President Obama holds the opposite to be true. And nothing speaks more to his belief than his support for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ("CRPD").

On the surface, CRPD calls for numerous protections for people with disabilities. Many of these protections are consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, CRPD also includes provisions that were drafted by the United Nations and should concern all Americans. If ratified, CRPD would become the law of the land under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, and would trump state laws, and could be used as precedent by state and federal judges. Since it is a treaty, the Constitution requires that it must be ratified by two-thirds of the United States Senate.

There are two very troubling provisions in this treaty. The first spreads the identical standard for the control of children with disabilities as is contained in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. This means that the Federal government, acting under U.N. directions, can determine for all children with disabilities what is best for them. The second, the education provision of CRPD does not support the parental rights rules of past U.N. human rights treaties. Omission of these rules would potentially eradicate parental rights for the education of children with disabilities.

Over the years we have seen many U.N. treaties which can endanger the American way of life by attempting to trump U.S. laws. As a matter of foreign policy, we firmly believe that we should never allow our beliefs and values to be outsourced to outside entities that may not always have our best interests in mind.

On this particular treaty, however, we come at it from a more personal experience.

During our campaign for president, many of you learned about our daughter Bella.  She is a special-needs child who has blessed our hearts. In working with health-care professionals, we found that a few advised treatments were not only not helpful to Bella, but could actually be quite harmful. As parents, it was crucial to be involved to make the proper decision for the best benefits of our child. And through our experience caring for her, we found that we are far from alone.

Many parents across the U.S. care for special-needs children, and like us, they know that they are best equipped to do so. They are deeply invested in their children, and are the best liaison between their child and the proper care provided by physicians, nurses, and other health-care personnel. And as their special-needs children get older, these parents determine what educational options are best for them.

What's so problematic here is that the provisions of this treaty could open the door for a professional or government official to override the decision that we as parents need to make for our special-needs children.

Having been blessed with Bella, and all of our wonderful children, we’ve learned that when it comes to their care, we know what’s best.  CRPD threatens to take parents out of the equation and attempt to determine the right path for children they have never met.

This is yet one more example of Barack Obama's ideology and mission to give more power to the government; to allow the government to dictate what our rights are.

But our rights do not come from Barack Obama's Administration, or from any government, for that matter. Our rights come from God. When government defines what rights Americans can have, they can also take those rights away.  In forfeiting our parental rights, we endanger our children’s future.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is planning hearings on this treaty as early as tomorrow, July 26, despite an announcement last week that the issue was to be postponed indefinitely. Karen and I are urging continued pressure on the White House and on the U.S. Senate to ensure that this treaty never sees the light of day on the Senate floor. Together we know we can make a tremendous impact when we speak with one voice on an issue we feel passionately about. It is astounding that the U.S. Senate was even considering ratification of this treaty, which would effectively give the United Nations oversight on how we care for our special-needs kids.

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