Tea party Republicans opposed to a worldwide treaty that would provide equal rights to people with disabilities are misguided in their opposition and, hopefully, will see the benefits if the measure is put to another vote.
The U.N. treaty that was negotiated during President George W. Bush’s administration has already been ratified by 138 governments.
It draws heavily upon the Americans With Disabilities Act, and it would ensure equal rights across the globe to people with disabilities.
The U.S. has long been a leader in initiatives designed to ensure equality and equal access under the provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The agreement helps push some of those initiatives to other countries that may be lagging in similar measures.
Last December, 38 senators, all Republicans, voted against ratifying the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. An Associated Press story this week noted that Mike Lee, a tea party-leaning Republican from Utah, was and still is among the most vocal opponents.
Lee, according to the AP, thinks the agreement would make it more difficult for parents to decide to homeschool their disabled children, and he is afraid that the agreement will lead to more abortions because it offers equal access to health care.
On reproductive health care, the AP reported that officials say the language only demands equality under the law for disabled people, compelling no nation to make abortion legal or illegal for all its citizens.
On the home schooling question, the AP notes ratification of the pact would actually make it easier for the U.S. to persuade countries hostile to the practice to loosen their laws on allowing disabled children to be taught at home.
In essence, the arguments put forward by Lee and his tea party minions don’t hold up to scurtiny.
Proponents of the agreement — last year, former Sen. Bob Dole, Sen. John McCain and other prominent Republicans were among them — are hoping to bring the measure back for another vote.
This time, hopefully, the misguided objections by tea party Republicans won’t kill an effort that, ultimately, would help ensure equality for people with disabilities everywhere.