Senate May Approve Disability Rights Treaty That Could Promote Abortion

Opinion   |   William Saunders and Mary Drury   |   Jul 24, 2014   |   12:15PM   |   Washington, DC

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) this week. While this treaty has a warm and fuzzy name, it could have a dangerous impact on abortion laws in this country.

Pro-life Americans should be especially concerned with the inclusion of the term “sexual and reproductive health” under the list of required areas for which signatory nations must provide “free or affordable health care.”

senate3The term “sexual and reproductive health” is not defined. This provides an opportunity for anti-life activists within UN agencies and treaty monitoring bodies to distort its meaning to serve their agenda. Although abortion is not mentioned in the treaty, abortion-activists within the U.N. want this phrase to be interpreted to mean a right to abortion.

The United States already has one of the most radical abortion policies in the world. Our country is in the company of North Korea, China, and Canada as the only four nations in the world to allow abortions through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason.  However, there is a desire on the part of Senate Democrats to further radicalize America’s abortion policies—as evidenced by their efforts to advance a new “FOCA” bill, S. 1696–disingenuously named the Women’s Health Protection Act.

If the United States were to ratify CRPD, a U.S. court could cite the recommendations of its treaty monitoring body as evidence of customary international law in order to further liberalize the abortion policies in this country. There are examples of this happening around the world. In the last decade, courts in Columbia and Argentina have allowed their nations to be pressured by the recommendations of UN treaty monitoring bodies to liberalize their laws in favor of abortion.

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The United States is already one of the world leaders regarding legal protections for people who have disabilities. Ceding this nation’s sovereignty to an international body will not increase rights for disabled Americans, but it will create a dangerous opening for policy making by abortion activists within UN bodies.

Now that CRPD has passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee it will be eligible for a vote on the Senate floor. The treaty will need the votes of two-thirds of the Senate in order to be ratified. Pro-life Americans should be on guard against CRPD and any UN treaty that does not expressly prohibit the agreement from being interpreted to mean a right to abortion.