Monday, March 9

Treaty Could Infringe on Parental Rights

Sen. Barbara Boxer is urging the U.S. to ratify a United Nations measure meant to expand the rights of children, a move critics are calling a gross assault on parental rights that could rob the U.S. of sovereignty.

The California Democrat is pushing the Obama administration to review the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a nearly 20-year-old international agreement that has been foundering on American shores since it was signed by the Clinton administration in 1995 but never ratified.

Critics say the treaty, which creates "the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion" and outlaws the "arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy," intrudes on the family and strips parents of the power to raise their children without government interference.

Nearly every country in the world is party to it -- only the U.S. and Somalia are not -- but the convention has gained little support in the U.S. and never been sent to the Senate for ratification.
That could change soon.

The United States Constitution warns that we do not enter into treaties lightly because once a treaty is signed, it becomes law. Under the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the U.S. Constitution, ratified treaties preempt state law. Since nearly all laws regarding children in the United States are state laws, this treaty would negate nearly 100% of existing American family law, and grant the federal government and international organizations authority to override parental decisions by applying even to good parents a standard now only used against those parents convicted of abuse or neglect.

Possible results of this treaty could be:
  • parents prohibited from spanking their children
  • parents prohibited from homeschooling their children
  • parents forbidden from deciding their family's religion
  • a ban of youngsters from facing the death penalty regardless of how heinous the crime is or how close to 18 the child is
  • the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent's decision in the name of their version of "what's best for the child"
  • a child's "right to be heard" would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed
  • according to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children's welfare
  • children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure
  • teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC so it could place into jeopardy the ability of parents to send their children to private schools that are not secular in nature
  • allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education would be eliminated
  • children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent
This treaty will transfer responsibilities from the parent to the government, and all parental rights will be forfeited. The government would decide what is in the best interest of a child in every case, and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child would be considered superior to state laws. Parents could be treated like criminals for making every-day decisions about their children's lives.

As always, the time is now to lobby your representatives in Washington to not ratify this treaty.

sources: Fox News, Political Pistachio, Heading Right

13 comments:

Marnie said...

In case any of your readers really wants to know what the Convention on the Rights of a Child stands for, as opposed to the talking points recited (oops, I channeled Jeff), here is the link to the actual text along with various summaries.

http://www.unicef.org/crc/index_30160.html

Jeff said...

World Vision supports U.S. ratification of the treaty. I'm too flabbergasted by Natalie's propaganda-filled posts to "debate" them. You're on your own.

The Gang's Momma said...

Thanks for breaking it down. I've been to a couple other sites that really didn't spell it out like this. I am linking to this post in mine today.

Natalie said...

Jeff,

Welcome home! I guess your vacation didn't mellow you out any.

Unless you can prove otherwise, World Vision only states on their Web site that they support the treaty with regards to children's rights in Iraq. This is taken from testimony a rep from World Vision gave before Congress:

"The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Geneva Conventions establish the inalienable rights of children to protection, security, identity, nutrition, education, participation and opportunity. In the case of Iraq, high priority should be given to ensuring that children are enrolled in primary education as soon as possible and that no child faces discrimination in access to school. Every effort should be made to preserve official government records that establish children’s identity. New documents should be issued to children whose records have been lost, confiscated or destroyed. Girl children require special attention and protection from sexual and physical abuse."

Jeff said...

World Vision, Here we stand: World Vision and child rights (2nd edition), 17 Dec 2007

www.worldvision.com.au/learn/policyandreports/files/HereWeStand.pdf

They also sell childrens educational material based on the treaty: www.worldvisionresources.com/product_info.php?products_id=366

I'm done.

Jeff said...

The second link looks like it was cut off:

www.worldvision.com.au/learn/policyandreports/files/HereWeStand.pdf

Natalie said...

Marnie,

While on the surface I think this treaty looks harmless and can have a child's interest at best, I think it has the potential to be a threat to parents. According to the treaty, it would grant the government authority to override parental decisions if the government thought the parental decision wasn't in the child's best interest. So then it becomes a question of whose standard do you use?

Some parents think spanking is in the best interest of the child...others think it is child abuse.

Some parents think homeschooling is in the best interest of the child...others think parents are not qualified to teach their own kids.

Some parents want to tell their kids about reproductive health when they feel they are ready...others think schools know best when and in what way that information is conveyed.

Some parents believe it is their responsibility to give their child a strong religious foundation...others believe the child should explore and choose (if any) religion on their own.

And on and on it can go. My concern is that this treaty would give government officials with very liberal views a platform to restrict parental rights and to take away our authority to raise our children the way we see fit...not the government's way as they see fit.

Although the "talking points" I listed are not explicitly written into the treaty, they are all real possibilities when you consider that the treaty would supercede state laws and are then left to interpretation. It's whose interpretation of the treaty and how it is applied that has me (and millions others) concerned.

Nat

Natalie said...

Jeff,

Unfortunately, World Vision endorsing this treaty doesn't make me like it any better. I think when you look at the atrocities against children worldwide, a treaty like this becomes necessary in order for basic rights a reality for children in war-torn nations, thirld-world countries and in countries that are ruled by dictators.

But I think in the U.S. this treaty would actually do more harm than good in the end. Plus, why is it even necessary when we have thousands of laws already on the books for these type of issues outlined in the treaty?

We don't need a treaty, we just need the existing laws to be enforced.

Douglas V. Gibbs said...

if you read the treaty carefully, you will see the articles that are in line with what the treaty is being accused of. For example, pay close attention to Articles 12 and 14.

Jeff said...

http://childrightscampaign.org/crcindex.php?sNav=getinformed_snav.php&sDat=faqs_dat.php

Natalie said...

Jeff,

This link will give you a point by point (or myth by myth) refute to the above link you provided.

http://www.parentalrights.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7B2B53865E-A8C1-4FE6-AF67-08789FBE3C0A%7D#_ftn11

Jeff said...

If I thought it would matter to you and if I wasn't tired of doing the research you should be doing yourself, I'd offer to have our library pull the ABA's comments to the CRC, which address the widespread misconceptions about the CRC and its potential legal impact. Obviously, though, it doesn't matter.

Natalie said...

I have done the research and that last link I provided gives more than enough reason (with all the documentation you could ever want) to believe that the ratification of this treaty could be the beginning of a slippery slope when it comes to parental rights.

And you're right, it doesn't matter to me if you pull all the legal mumbo jumbo you want to prove your point, it won't change my mind.

 

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