Guest Post: Don’t Let the United Nations Dictate How We Raise Our Kids

Hi dfzsyesybt
Folks! This provocative piece on a topic I hadn’t encountered before comes to us from Elizabeth Ely. She blogs at Kitchen Sink Included, where she tells stories, preserves memories, and shares opinions that she simply can’t keep to herself. Like this one! – L.
Why should Free-Range parents have any interest in a United Nations Convention treaty currently up for ratification before the U.S. Senate?  I’ll give you a short answer:  Because the treaty would make government, rather than parents, the ultimate authority on what constitute the “best interests” of a child.  This means that if government bureaucrats feel your parenting choices are out of line with their idea of what is appropriate, you could lose guardianship of your child.
Let me expound on that just a bit.  First of all, the treaty is called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Proponents are claiming that the treaty is necessary to protect the rights of disabled Americans travelling abroad. In reality, it does not provide any protection that is not already available to disabled Americans under current laws. What it does do, is place U.N. bureaucrats in charge of determining the best interests of disabled Americans, giving those bureaucrats the authority to tell us how such people must be treated.
But that isn’t even the part that should disturb a Free-Range parent.  What should disturb them is the provision in this treaty that states that if your child is disabled, the U.N. will tell you how to raise him (or, of course, her):  How he must be educated, what type of accommodations you must make for him in your home, what type of therapy you must provide, and how you are allowed to discipline…all this will be decided not by you, the parent, but by a committee of concerned U.N. personnel. This is even more troubling when one realizes that “disabled” is not defined in the treaty.  Is a child on Ritalin disabled?  What about bed-wetters?  Stutterers?  Introverts?  Imagine a world where the government could define practically anyone as “disabled,” and then tell that person’s parents how to raise their son or daughter.
That is what this treaty gives us.
Closely related is the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which will also be coming up before the Senate for ratification soon, and which simply states that ALL children should be raised as the government thinks best.
If you are concerned about what this would do to the rights of American parents to raise their children as they think best, please call your senators today and encourage them to vote against ratification of this treaty. The simple truth is, it doesn’t protect disabled Americans.  Our own laws do that.  What it does do is give up American sovereignty to the U.N., and threaten the right of American parents.
Here is a list of how to contact your local senator.  The Senate votes on this tomorrow. – E.E.
International parenting regulations. A good thing?
UPDATE: Reading the comments makes me see that this post possibly reflects a larger movement which distrusts the U.N., period.  Personally, I do not distrust the U.N. But here at Free-Range Kids I’ve watched a lot of well-meaning rules passed by other bodies intrude on parental discretion. For instance, the desire to save children from dying in cars (a noble intent) has led to laws in several states that criminalize parents who believe their kids can be safely left in the car for a few minutes. So I ran today’s post, thinking about how sometimes the best intentions — and who doesn’t want to treat the disabled fairly? — can lead to unintended consequences. – L.

98 Responses to Guest Post: Don’t Let the United Nations Dictate How We Raise Our Kids

  1. gap.runner December 3, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    This sounds like one of those “UN conspiracies to take over the world.” There are a lot of people who believe that the UN is going to take over America and the rest of the world. Come on, how is a committee of “UN bureaucrats” really going to determine how a person raises a child? This also sounds like the same logic that Republicans used to defeat the Clinton health care plan and to try and defeat Obamacare. But instead of the UN making decisions about an individual’s health care choices, it was government bureaucrats.

    Sorry for the political rant, but the whole idea of people at the UN taking over how a person raises a child in the States is ridiculous. One would think that people who work at the UN have better things to do than worry about how a particular person raises a disabled, or able-boded for that matter, child.

  2. Marianne Mollmann December 3, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    It is unfortunate that universal human rights treaties are villified to such an extent in this country and with so little effort to reference actual facts.

    Neither the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities nor the Convention on the Rights of the Child establish any further government oversight of parenting than what US law already contains: a deference for parental choice, but solid protection of the best interests of the child should these interests not coincide with parental choice (which, at times, they don’t, as per incest, child abuse, etc). International human rights treaties add further review for those rights in international fora–that is, they strengthen protections US legislators have already agreed upon.

    Meanwhile, the writer need not dispair: the United States Senate is not known for pushing human rights standards. It is those of us who care about international human rights and the universality of human dignity that have cause for dispair. Concerned parents should call their senators to support these treaties rather than cry wolf over non-existing threats.

  3. Yan Seiner December 3, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    The UN has no real authority within a Nation’s borders. Yes, they can send peacekeepers in, but that requires approval of the Security Council, where the US has veto authority. And the absurdity of anyone mounting a land invasion of the US is just that, absurd.

    In other words, this is a tempest in a teapot. Blue helmeted Boris is not going to come across the border to take away your children, any more than he’s going to take away your guns.

    Honestly, when was the last time you actually saw a UN bureaucrat?

    So the US signs the treaty. We already have the ADA, which is far more absurd than any UN proposal ever. (Not the basic provisions of the ADA which are good, the absurd ones that will require cities to rip up entire blocks of streets if actually implemented and enforced.)

  4. Farrar December 3, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    I was briefly sucked in by these arguments once a upon a time. But the truth is that nations with massively different social programs and approaches to dealing with parents and children have all ratified this treaty. It does not stop people from homeschooling, from sending their kids outside to play, from generally parenting as they choose, or anything else people have claimed. The people who rail against it are UN conspiracy theorists or people who believe that world government is inherently wrong on a basic level. The UN is simply affirming that children have rights individual of their parents and that’s something that I think free-range kids should have. They are individuals who need to be nurtured into responsibility and eventually adulthood. The UN does not threaten our right to do that, it affirms it.

  5. lihtox December 3, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    I will admit I don’t know the details of either of these treaties. That being said, I will point out a couple things:
    1) These treaties are undoubtedly primarily aimed at those countries who don’t give a fig about the disabled, who don’t have the equivalent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, etc. Yes, no doubt the language is broad enough that it could be pushed towards sinister ends, except that…

    2) The only effect of these treaties might be in pressuring lawmakers to pass specific legislation for their home countries. The treaty can’t “make government, rather than parents, the ultimate authority on what constitute the “best interests” of a child.” any more than it is already: Child Protection Services and child labor laws already exist, for example, and though they can go overboard, they’re better than abusive parents locking their children away, or sweatshops run by 10-year-olds.

    The UN doesn’t have the ability to enforce these treaties at the local level; UN police can’t come in and put your child on Ritalin or force you to drive them to school. So don’t get caught up in this treaty (which is basically saying “We agree to take the concerns of the disabled seriously.”) and focus on the consequences. If Congress or a local or state legislature is considering an anti-Free Range law, that’s when we should be worried.

    3) There is a certain paranoia about the UN that exists in this country, ascribing way more power to them than they have ever possessed. This article seems to be of that vein, and so I am highly skeptical of its conclusions because of it.

  6. Sally December 3, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Where is the link to something, anything, which could clarify what the heck this person is on about? A simple link to where it “simply states that ALL children should be raised as the government thinks best” would do nicely.

    Are we seriously being asked to contact our representatives to vote against something we are given no specific source information about? Talk about not trusting people to make their own decisions!

    gap.runner, don’t be sorry for the political rant — you didn’t start it!

  7. Jess L. December 3, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    [citation needed]

  8. Elisa December 3, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I hear black helicopters hovering overhead . . . .

  9. David December 3, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    These comments are all on point. As a law professor and a former UN official, I can assure you that the UN is the last of our worries in terms of having government authorities second-guess our parenting decisions. Local authorities–including CPS and local prosecutors–however, have significant power to weigh in on parenting decisions, thanks to vague statutes on child-neglect and endangerment. I’ve attempted to highlight these issues in an article coming out shortly in the Utah Law Review (2012 Utah L. Rev. 947), which you can find here:

  10. Uly December 3, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Can we not resort to cheap fearmongering? The UN has no interest in taking away your right to parent, and no ability to do so either.

    It is so very easy to google this and find out what it actually says. I’ll just link to the relevant section:

  11. Jessika December 3, 2012 at 11:41 am #

    Honestly, lady, read the thing closely. All of it.
    Then we can start with the conspiracy theories.
    Oh, and the world is supposedly ending on December 21. I’ve heard conspiracies that the UN, NASA or Area 51 is responsible for that.

  12. Brian December 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    This law helps the human beings on this earth who most need a voice and a protector. Children with disabilities who are often outcasts who deserve simple human decencies and to be treated like the human beings that they are. Children who are often beaten, sold as slaves, denied an education or forced into gangs of beggars. What more noble goal could there be?

    I am quite comfortable allowing a third party to set minimal standards for care of a disabled child. I am confident that were I in the position to parent a child with a disability, I would meet those minimum standards.

  13. Daniel December 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Izzy, you *really* need to vet your contributors better. This post is classic black-helicopter conspiracy stuff. There’s no UN proposal to let governments control how you raise your children, and the Convention on Disabilities is an unmitigated good thing that will help children across the world.

  14. Alex R. December 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Aaaaguh! Black Helicopters are coming to herd the bad parents into FEMA camps! Disabled children will be turned into suicide bombers by Communo-islamic UN bureaucrats! Blue-helmeted thugs will come into our schools and read to our children from “Jesus Had Two Daddies.”

    Isadore, please take this complete, useless, conspiracy theory-addled bullshit off your site at once! This article is killing your credibility!

  15. Eric December 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    I have long been supportive of the free-range kids movement because of its focus on empowering children and their parents, not on enabling them. Unfortunately, this uninformed essay does the exact opposite. It enables parents who feel either that their children’s needs, as defined by the parents not the children, must always take priority over the needs of society or that government does not contribute . It also enables those who have the luxury of living in a society that makes accommodations for children and adults with disabilities (thank you ADA) to feel like they ar protecting their children without suffering any costs, unlike the children and adults in lower income states who do not have their own version of the ADA.

    The mentality of parental narcissism on display here is the same one that has led to the dangerous, irrational backlash against childhood vaccinations. It is the mentality that has allows helicopter parents to pat themselves on the back when ever their child does something successful in school and harangue the teacher and the school when their child fails. It is the mentality that is the exact opposite of free-range parenting.

    Shame on you Ms. Ely and shame on you Lenore.

  16. Donna December 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    Wow. I’m speechless so just wow.

  17. cb December 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    So FRK, which is usually good at poinitng out the ridiculous nature of “oh my god, what about the chidlren” rants, just posted this?

    Did the site get hacked?

  18. Filioque December 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    The post may be over the top in terms of paranoia, but I do have a question for those gushing over our need here in the U.S. to establish firm “human rights” for our children:

    We already have laws against child abuse, neglect, abandonment, incest, and just about every other evil we can imagine. We already have laws and standards to protect and help those with disabilities. Every state has lengthy procedures in place to ensure that students with everything from ADHD to severe physical disabilities get a fair shot at education.

    So why exactly are these and other UN standards so very critical to American society, when we already have local, state and federal laws in place that do the same thing?

    I really don’t see wariness of the UN as a “black helicopter” concept; questioning our government in general and politicians in particular is a healthy activity for all of us.

  19. Jessika December 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    The UN isn’t a legislative body, adopted conventions are conventions. No UN-observer will knock on a door to check how you raise your children. Let’s not give this more merit than it warrants.

    Also, the USA hasn’t exactly been prompt to pay the fees to the UN. I doubt it will actually enforce any adopted convention.

    If nothing else, such conventions should, if nothing else, serve as food for thought. what kind of circumstances should the world strive towards.

  20. Jessika December 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    And while I am the first person to adhere to the notion that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I neither see the road nor any paving when it comes to this.

  21. Donna December 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    @Filioque –

    I would venture to guess, without reading the treaties, that our laws already come pretty close to meeting the expectations of the UN treaty. Our signing does nothing other than show the international community that the US takes the rights of the disabled and children seriously and encourages other countries to do the same.

    There are a lot of countries in the world that allow abhorrent treatment of children and the disabled to exist. Slavery, child labor, sex trafficking, stealing children for sale under the guise of international adoption, murder of the disabled. Practices we’d all like to see stopped. We can’t exactly say “hey there country that allows children as young as 6 to work, you need to sign this treaty and get on the ball” when we won’t sign the thing ourselves.

    To the extent the US doesn’t meet the expectations of the UN, I see no problem with the UN pointing it out. There is no ability on the part of the UN to enforce this treaty. But the US is not a supreme being and other countries do occasionally have good ideas that we didn’t think of. If an international body thought something important enough to human rights to put in a treaty, it is probably something worth considering. Not necessarily agreeing or requiring a mandate to change our laws but actually thinking about what it means and why we do it differently.

  22. Linda Wightman December 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    Wow. Never have I been so at odds with so many comments on a blog where I usually find myself in agreement.

    To those who say we need not fear this treaty because it won’t affect us, I say that in that case we certainly should not pass it. If we do not need it, if it is not the very best way to address some pressing issue in our country, to ratify this would be at best a foolish waste of time. It would be like the state of Florida, which has a propensity for cluttering up its constitution with issues that are much better dealt with on a lower level, from public school class sizes to the proper care of pigs.

    I know many people here have been victims — sometimes tragic victims — of the unintended consequences of someone else’s good intentions. Certainly my family has. Once burned, forever shy. Or perhaps the better cliché is the one that starts “Fool me once….”

    It is probably true that practically speaking the greatest danger from the treaty would come in the form of the ammunition it would give to people in this country who wish to promote particular policies and legislation. (“We signed the treaty; we need to follow through.”) Never underestimate the determination of someone who thinks he knows better than you do how to raise your children.

    If the treaty has no effect on us, signing it is mere posturing. If it does give another governing body even a theoretical superiority to our own laws, signing it would subject American citizens to unnecessary danger.

    A risk is only worth taking if there is a foreseeable benefit outweighing it.

  23. SKL December 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    I see others have beaten me to the punch. I don’t want the US to sign any of those treaties. To be short and sweet: first of all, the majority of nations involved in the UN have such horrible local practices by US standards that they have no business weighing in on what the US does. Second, the whole “world government raising my kids” thing – because it’s obvious that some stranger from a developing, non-democratic country knows my kids’ needs better than I do. Third, the UN promotes abortion over adoption and then turns around and tells ME about the rights of my kids (who happen to be adopted internationally). Fourth, on what grounds (or planet) does the US (or any other sovereign country) allow itself to be pressured to bow to international “standards” (which aren’t even kept internationally)? The only time the US should be signing a treaty is if there is equal give-and-take. Promising that we won’t do what we want because some group of mostly anti-American diplomats says so? Why?

  24. SKL December 3, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Donna, you make it sound like our telling, say, India to sign this treaty is magically going to stop the child abuse, rapes, murders, etc. that go on there. (For all I know, India already signed the treaty. [I did not check.] I know if you look down the list of countries that have signed the treaty, I guarantee you do NOT see a list of countries that actually enforce any rights of the everyday child.)

    I agree that the US can’t just go into another country and tell that population how to raise its kids. So how does it follow that the US needs to act based on what foreign diplomats think? The logic completely fails me.

    We have enough of our own problems here. Child abuse is horrible in every country. But an international treaty on social practices isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. And, what a waste of resources that ought to be directed toward actually making things better (in each country individually).

  25. lihtox December 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    If we don’t sign the treaty, then other countries with much worse standards will point to us and say “If the US isn’t signing it, then we’re not going to either.” But if the whole world has signed it except for West Childbeateralia, then W.C. is going to feel a lot more pressure to sign it.

  26. SKL December 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I would like to go on record to say we have a LOT of room for improvement in how we serve our disabled (especially mentally disabled) population – adults and children. So does every other country. But the UN is not the place to go for the answers.

  27. lihtox December 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    So (I should have added) there is potential good that will come from our signing it, and no particular harm at all.

    I understand and sympathize with the position of not wanting to have too many laws of the books: an overly complicated legal system makes it easier for ordinary people to unwittingly break the law, and it gives people with clever lawyers more loopholes to get away with whatever they want to do. But treaties don’t work that way; nobody is going to be arrested because of a treaty. They may be charged based on a law inspired by a treaty, but since we already have such laws in place nothing will have changed.

  28. SKL December 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    From Wikipedia (admittedly a lazy research tool but probably not far off):

    “As of November 2009, 193 countries have ratified, accepted, or acceded to it (some with stated reservations or interpretations) including every member of the United Nations except Somalia and the United States, as well as the new nation of South Sudan. Somalia had announced in late 2009 that it would eventually do so.”

    So no worries, they have all signed it and we can rest assured that no children outside the USA are being mistreated despite our inaction. Whew! No point signing it now.

  29. Filioque December 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    My favorite part about all these comments is that people keep calling Lenore by the wrong name!

  30. SKL December 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    lihtox, technically a ratified Treaty is the highest law of the land. In case of a conflict, it trumps US, state, and local laws.

    But here we’re not talking about an actual Treaty – at least, I don’t think so. Or should I say, I hope not.

  31. SKL December 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    My comment up there about the 193 signatories was about the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Sorry that was not clear.

  32. SKL December 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    On second thought, maybe this is an actual treaty that would trump US laws. Holy poo, no wonder we haven’t ratified it. (Supposedly the US was one of the drafters of the one on kids’ rights, and the US did sign it, but it isn’t law here because we have not “ratified” it yet.)

    The convention on international adoption pretty much halted adoptions in many countries, leaving kids destitute and without the family bonds they could have had. Red tape, as usual, causing a lot more problems than it solves.

  33. alynna December 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    This rant is complete crap. The CRPD has nothing to do with “the UN telling you how to raise your children”. Its provisions run along the lines of “You can’t refuse someone medical care just because they have a disability”. I am disappointed that this sort of conspiracy theory stuff has been given a platform on this site.

  34. Kristy December 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    …wow, really? We’re really going here? Is… is it April 1 already??



    Ok, seriously? The UN treaty does not change any of the laws we in the US have regarding rights for the disabled. Did you catch that? We already have those provisions in place, and they’re good provisions. We’re trying to adopt a global standard so that disabled people in all countries can enjoy those same rights. Some people are lying about that and trying to obscure the facts out of a (imo, wrongheaded and paranoid) political agenda, but that doesn’t make their allegations true.

    There is absolutely nothing in the treaty to imply or give anyone reason to think that Big Government or the UN is going to declare your introverted child disabled, tell you how to raise your children, or take your children away. This is fear-mongering, plain and simple, and I thought this site was better than that.

  35. Andy December 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I wanted comment on this article, but it seems like other commenters already said it all.

    It would be better if this blog would came back to be the voice of reason again, instead of becoming just another random sensational outrage against something either insignificant (machine malfunction) or completely harmless.

  36. Andy December 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    @Filoque If you do not sign the convention, you have not right to demand that other countries sign it nor that they follow it. On the practical side, if you bring the issue up, the other countries will turn back with “you did not signed the convention neither” and point out the hypocrisy.

    @skl The “why should USA care a bit about anybody non-american” attitude tend to be very irritating.

    USA routinely goes around telling other countries what they should do. But, somehow, if the thing does not directly immediately benefit USA, then the thing is outrage. Any minute spent on it is complete waste of course. USA uses UN to press its agenda, but any agenda not originated in USA is something horrible. Regardless of what is in that agenda.

    Even if the case like this which cause no harm and no needed changes in USA. Is this really how USA should act? I somehow doubt that the attitude would gain you a lot of friends if it really would become official.

  37. Ali December 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    This treaty falls right in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights put forward by Amnesty International. If you disagree with the Declaration then live here, in the US, where the rights of people get trampled all the time and is a big reason why the US won’t sign the treaty. Essentially, the Declaration suggests that people be treated as humans: access to clean water, government can’t tax you to oblivion, educate the kids, have a decent wage, etc. See the Declaration here:

    Animated for easy digestion:

    #12 covers free range kids: the right to privacy. And #23, the right to play.

    I’m going with the site was hacked by a venomous, vile spewing freak who would rather live where Guantanamo is OK, torture is OK and the rights of people are subsumed by the rights of corporations and government.

    The UN treaty for the disabled carrie the Declaration forward to include the rights of the disabled specifically.

    I see the UN treaty as protecting my rights more so than the government. Feel free to disagree: that’s right #19.

  38. Ali December 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Sheesh, I sounds a tad harsh. The UN conspiracy people are just was wacky as the 9/11 conspiracy people IMHO. I like FRK because there is a general lack of freakiness and tends to be more level headed. To see the UN conspiracy theories played out here is really unexpected, and well, sad. Just sayin’.

  39. Donna December 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    No, SKL, signing a treaty isn’t going to magically make something happen. But based on your sarcastic and meaningless comments, it is clear that there is no point even trying to rationally debate the issue with you.

  40. Filioque December 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    Andy, I’m all for the USA stopping its habit of telling other countries what to do, but you seem to want it both ways: You’re outraged over the USA meddling in world affairs, while at the same time lambasting another poster for asking why we should care what other countries do with their laws, treaties and UN convention signings.

  41. hineata December 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    Larger countries like the U.S, France, Britain, Germany etc, etc, do have a history of trying to foist their agendas on smaller sovereign nations. This is by and large human nature, and not any particular surprise to anyone resident in smaller nations. As an example, New Zealand ‘enjoyed’ many years of frosty relations with the US over our refusal to allow US Navy vessels into our ports when the US wouldn’t reveal whether or not they carried nuclear weapons. We also had a strained relationship with France over the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior in our waters, by a supposedly ‘crack’ military team – who were captured thanks to information from two tourists and a farmer.

    I usually agree with you, SKL, but Andy is right – that ‘why should the US care about anybody non-American attitude’ is irritating. Donna is correct too – occasionally people outside America do have good ideas (for example, Richard Pearce achieved powered flight in a paddock in the South Island six months before the Wright brothers). The UN, while not always right, is one source of ideas.

  42. Jespren December 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    1) I did not read all the comments so I apologise if someone has already pointed this out:
    2) go to for more information as well as detailed explanations of how laws like these proposed treaties have, in the U.S and elsewhere, already caused parental rights erosion/abuse.
    3) when people claim that international treaty can not possibly have a significant influence on American law because the UN can’t put troots on the ground or even levy trade sanctions against us, you are overlooking one extremely important fact. In most countries an internal treaty is worth little more than the paper it’s printed on, depending upon the current administration and local feelings on the matter the treaty can expect to be followed or not, and to what extent, varying greatly. And it certainly wouldn’t superceed previous or current national law. But the U.S. is not like that. Our Constitution states that a dually signed international treaty is fully binding, law of the land, as resolute and immutable as the Constitution itself (in some ways stronger since we can amend the Constitution but not international treaty). If this treaty gets signed the law of the land will reflect the *assumption* that the government acts and knows what is in the best interest of the child. Right now government can step in and try to assert that they know what’s in the best interest, but as it stands the legal assumption is that the parents hold the child’s best interest. That will change if this treaty is signed, and that is a huge change with horrific, long-lasting results which we will have almost no legal way to undue given that our Constitution holds international treaties as sacrocanct law.

  43. Pee December 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    There’s no reason to ratify this treaty in the US, we already have too many laws to protect children and the disabled. If other countries want to ratify that’s fine but not here. Conspiracy or not it’s unnecessary and really a waste of time.

  44. Andy December 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    @Filioque Actually, I’m not against every single USA agenda. I’m fine with existence of international bodies and I’m ok with the fact that USA participates in them.

    I’m irritated by “everybody must follow our agenda, but we do not care a bit about agenda not originated with us” kind of thinking. I’m also irritated by “we will use UN to press for our agenda, but anything that does not immediately benefit us is an outrage” kind of thinking. It should not and hopefully will not work in such a one way system.

    Some people seem to be angry not about the content, but by the simple fact that somebody dared to use UN for something that is not your agenda.

    By the way, there is a difference between telling people what to do and between participation in a shared forum. There is also difference between signing something because you agree (or will gain benefits) and signing something because you have been basically blackmailed. I’m perfectly fine with international treaties in the first case and dislike them in the second. This is not the second case.

  45. Cathy Donovan December 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    My son was adopted from a country where he may not have been allowed to attend school (depended on the province) because of a physical disability that has not hampered his schooling one bit. Approving this treaty would allow the US and other countries who already have laws that protect the “disabled” pressure other countries to follow suite. If the US doesn’t ratify this then we have less leverage. Too bad you allowed yourself to get sucked into this “big government is out to get us” mentality.

  46. Jenne December 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm #


    A quick look at the Convention:
    shows that there is nothing we wouldn’t consider common-sense, and a lot of stuff about the ‘rights of the family’.

    Spending 10 seconds to check out a topic instead of passing on the fear seems … oh, I don’t know.. responsible.
    Can FreeRangeKids pull back from the brink, or have we gone over into shock-jock territory permanently?

  47. Filioque December 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    @ Cathy Donovan: Maybe the US needs to stop pressuring other countries to do things, however noble the intentions may be. Too many of the world’s current ills can be traced to the US and other world powers sticking their proverbial noses where they don’t belong.

  48. SKL December 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Andy, sorry, I have friends whose children sat in poorly-run orphanages for years when they could and should have come home to families very young. This is the direct result of one of those “wonderful” UN-sponsored international treaties. Waste of lives. How and why would I make this stuff up? Do some research on the Hague International Treaty’s fallout before you accuse.

    Hineata and others, you misunderstand. I do not think Americans should not care what happens in other countries. I believe the UN is not the answer to the problems. If we’ve come to the point when people think the UN is the only vehicle for giving a damn about people around the world, that is a very scary thought.

    I happen to be a co-founder, key donor, and active participant in an international charity that focuses on making lives better for children and handicapped adults in developing countries. It is best done without the involvement of the UN.

  49. Cathy Donovan December 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    Filoque, I think there’s such things as basic human rights, and thankfully the UN does pressure world powers (even the US) to improve on respecting those things. Cathy

  50. SKL December 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    How in the world did the UN get so much credibility in the first place? It’s just a big bureacracy riddled with scandals of every kind. Yet to hear people talk, it’s going to be the savior of the earth. Whatever.

  51. Andy December 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    By Hague International Treaty you mean Hague Adoption Convention or something else?

    “I have friends whose children sat in poorly-run orphanages for years when they could and should have come home to families very young. This is the direct result of one of those wonderful UN-sponsored international treaties.”

    What does it have to do with this treaty? Other then than, yes, foreign adoptions are notoriously hard, partly because of treaties, partly because of past abuses and mostly because the country the kid is in do not want to give that kid away.

    Did you considered the idea that there might have been no legal international adoption from those countries (full stop) without these agreements? Those countries would often simply deny all international adoptions – as they did in the past.

  52. Filioque December 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Cathy, there is indeed such a thing as basic human rights, but here’s the rub: When outside groups such as the UN or countries such as the US attempt to enforce rights on other countries (again, even when well intentioned), it threatens the political and cultural sovereignty of that country….hence the paranoid tone of today’s post and the whole reason we’re having this very interesting discussion in the first place.

  53. Leah Backus December 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    I have really enjoyed and come to trust Free Range Kids as a source of sound parenting advice. Please don’t water down your message by becoming affiliated with paranoid political kooks. Please just don’t.

  54. Bob Davis December 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    This discussion reminded me of driving through the San Joaquin Valley (Bakersfield and Fresno area) here in California and seeing “Get US out of the UN” signs along the highway. If California ever split into several states (like Texas is theoretically able to) the San Joaquin Valley would be a “Red State”.

  55. Cyndi December 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Pretty surprised to see drek like this here. It’s the right wing in the US who is up in arms about the UN ruling. Basically, the idea is that other countries will create an ADA (an Americans with Disability Act) equivalent. In other words, nothing in the US will change.

    As a person with disabilities myself, and as the mother of two disabled children (one living), as well as someone on the board of a disability organization and very well entrenched in the Disability activism movement, I can tell you that the ADA is necessary, excellent, and important.

    Please don’t let partisan politics color what you do. Both adults and children with disabilities need the protections this ruling will give. They aren’t the full answer, but they’re very much needed.

  56. Kara December 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Thanks for posting this controversial article! It’s quite interesting to read both sides of the arguments.

  57. SKL December 3, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Andy, no, I’m talking about countries that had an international adoption program (because they had practically no resources to take care of orphans locally). The Hague treaty forced these programs to close indefinitely while many families were in the middle of their adoptions. Five years later, thousands of kids continue to wait on the other side. My kids’ adoption was completed only a couple of months before their birth country’s program effectively shut down due to the Hague convention.

    Obviously if you were seeking to adopt internationally, you would not have gone to a country that did not have a functional adoption program when you started the process.

    Trust me, I know a “few things” about international adoption and the UN’s meddling therein.

  58. AW13 December 3, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    First, I don’t have any particular problem with the UN. I don’t mind our participation in international treaties and I agree that when the US signs on to something, it does put pressure on other countries to do the same. However, I am against giving another legislative body the power to trump our constitutional rights. Are they planning to do so? I doubt it. Would they do it? Again, I doubt it. But could they do so under the way these articles are written? Yes. Reword the treaties to be clearer in their intent and I’ll sign on. But this (what I’ve read of it, at least, which was just through Article 17) is far too vague for me to be completely comfortable.

  59. Donna December 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    SKL – The Hague Convention is 100% voluntary. No country is forced to sign it. In fact, only 89 have. There is no prohibition against non-Hague countries adopting out their children nor against any country from allowing its citizens to adopt from non-Hague countries. In fact, by your own example, many countries were doing so before signing the Hague Convention.

    Countries who sign the Hague Convention actually know the requirements BEFORE they sign. They understand that, if their programs are not in compliance that they will not be allowed to adopt out children until they come into compliance. Yet, they still choose to sign, probably because they actually want the protections required by the Hague Convention (none of which are remotely obscure or unnecessarily onerous and ALL something I would expect from any country engaging in adoptions, international or otherwise).

    How, again, is it the UN’s interference that stopped adoptions? Sounds to me that the COUNTRY wanted greater oversight of its adoption procedures and halted adoptions voluntarily.

  60. steve December 4, 2012 at 12:12 am #

    I am disappointed by how many people here are saying there is nothing to fear in this treaty when day after day Lenore’s blog almost ONLY posts stories about what is happening in our country in terms of parents loosing their rights over their own children. Why do you think so many parents — live in fear of CPS and the police? Live in fear of our public schools – Live in fear that their neighbor’s opinions will trump their own parental judgments?

    Here is one article that explains why we should be concerned about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

  61. SKL December 4, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    Donna, of course it’s a country’s choice, and that’s the whole point here – people want the US to choose to NOT sign these social welfare treaties.

    The problem with the UN being involved in adoption is that the UN takes the position that it is better for a child to rot in a poorly-equipped local orphanage (or on the streets, since there aren’t enough orphanages) than to be “stripped of her heritage” by joining a family. This policy is reflected in the fact that they make cases go through so many unnecessary procedures and very long delays just to confirm what the birth mom has said from day one – yes, I want this child to be adopted by a family in another country. (Local legal adoption of indigenous children is quite rare in many countries.)

    The UN also takes the position that if you’re poor, your choice to relinquish a child for adoption is almost certainly not voluntary. Therefore poor women should not be permitted to make this choice for their kids – at least not without a lot of government-imposed grief. They are all for such women aborting their kids, but adoption is a whole different story. Personally I think that is oppressive, but nobody asked me.

    The governments of poor countries don’t have time and resources to implement and streamline the new adoption requirements, so they simply let the cases sit without movement for years. “It’s on our to-do list.”

    Being a public defender, Donna, you have probably observed what often happens when a child grows up without stable roots in a loving family. Now if a country individually decides that it doesn’t want to allow or facilitate adoptions, that’s one thing, but for the UN to pressure them is wrong. The UN gets to make the mess and leave it for the local folks to clean up. But you’re right – they never should have signed. I assume there were some goodies involved for the poor countries who signed.

  62. CathPrisk December 4, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    In quick skim I cant see that anyone has pointed out that the US is only ONE OF TWO countries in the world that hasn’t signed the UN Convention ion the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the other being Somalia. ( – about half way down)

    The UNCRC holds up a yardstick against which we can measure ourselves and hold our Governments – local and national – to account.

    Why on earth would anyone think that signing it would be anything other than of benefit to parents in, for instance, campaigning to have recess reinstated in the 50% of US schools who have stopped it?

  63. Donna December 4, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    I’ve read the Hague Convention and it does none of those things.

    “I assume there were some goodies involved for the poor countries who signed.”

    So it is not acceptable to assume “if you’re poor, your choice to relinquish a child for adoption is almost certainly not voluntary,” but it is perfectly acceptable to assume that no poor country will sign a document protecting its children from unscrupulous adoption practices, American buying power, and Americans who put kids on planes back to their home countries with little more than a tag that reads “Please look after this bear” unless they are paid to do so? Double standard much?

    I do see every day what happens when a child grows up without a loving family. I also understand a poor country’s overwhelming desire to keep its children within its borders if at all humanly possible. Its people are often its only resource. I also understand Americans’ drive to get whatever they want at any cost and the toll that that can have on poor people and even poor countries. I also understand, and have seen first hand, the ability for people to buy and sell children that the rich want and the poor can’t afford not to sell. I have no problem with other countries leveling the play field somewhat with international treaties.

    And I extensively researched international adoption prior to conceiving. I would never adopt from a Non-Hague country. Too much corruption.

  64. Seamus [Impetus Engagement] December 4, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    This is an interesting question, often of limits. As a society we want children to be the best, as it will be the best way to benefit the country.

    Babies don’t come with a manual, and special needs children are even more difficult. It is good to have guidelines to help parents understand special needs if they have never dealt with them before.

    However, guidelines aren’t laws. The interesting philosophical question is when do these unmet special needs count as abuse? This is a question that society should be asking.

    Generally, it is the government’s job to maintain a social safety net to keep people from falling through the cracks. Not dictate and criminalize for not following certain a Standard Operating Procedure.

  65. Donna December 4, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    And, per your own numbers, there are 196 members countries of the UN. A mere 93 have signed the Hague Convention on International Adoption. If there were a lot of goodies being handed out to sign, we’d see many more signatories.

    Maybe, just maybe, you should open your mind to the idea that the countries that signed did so because they wanted to knowing full well what it entailed. They wanted the protections it offered their children. They wanted to make it more difficult for their children to be adopted into other countries. They wanted more oversight on their children internationally (and the only way to somewhat control the US is through a treaty if you are Guatemala).

    I hear lots of American potential adopters complaining about countries like Guatemala shutting down for adoptions. I don’t hear the Guatemalian government lamenting it. I don’t hear the Guatemalian government claiming that it was duped. I don’t even really hear the Guatemalians not involved in adoptions lamenting it. The countries at issue seem just fine with what has occurred under the treaty they signed. Americans wanting to adopt are not final say over whether Guatemala should have signed a treaty and whether doing so was good or bad for Guatemala.

  66. Donna December 4, 2012 at 1:30 am #

    “that’s the whole point here – people want the US to choose to NOT sign these social welfare treaties.”

    And that is fine. I completely understand speaking for the US and what the US should do. I disagree with you, but do not dispute your ability to say and believe whatever you want about the issue. I do disagree that Guatemala should get to weigh in on whether we should sign the treaties or not.

    See I was talking about your adoption analysis. You are not saying that the US should have never signed the Hague Convention (although I’m sure you think that) because it messed up international adoptions from other countries by US citizens. It didn’t. At all. Your argument is that Guatemala signing the Hague Convention messed up adoptions for US citizens and therefore it was wrong for Guatemala to sign, even if it wanted to do so to protect it’s citizens (which it never could do because it is a poor country and poor countries only act when given goodies but poor people give up their children readily without any goodies offered). Your decision about what it best for Guatemala, as if you have any say whatsoever, is based solely on what US citizens want, not what Guatemalian citizens want.

    Basically, your theory is that the UN put something out there that any country could sign if they wanted. Failure to sign does nothing. Signing means that adoptions stop until certain provisions are met. Signing is completely optional and, in fact, the majority of UN members have not signed and have not come to any demise. Some countries willingly signed the darn thing knowing they were going to have to suspend adoptions until better oversight could be put into place. And it is now totally the UN’s fault that people can’t adopt from these countries.

  67. SKL December 4, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Donna, if Guatemala didn’t want international adoptions, it needn’t have had an international adoption process, but it did. Guatemala was one of very few countries that had a very active international adoption process in the recent past. Guatemala was in no way forced to export its children; it wanted and still wants adoptions to occur. The problem is that implementing the Hague treaty isn’t getting done because of local politics and resource issues combined with international pressure.

    Your comments show a misunderstanding of how the Hague adoption treaty works. The rules only apply if BOTH sides of the international adoption have ratified the treaty. Guatemala ratified first but did not follow all the requirements until after the US ratified.

    I don’t deny that it’s always *possible* for birth mothers to be coerced, whether they are born in poor countries or right here in the USA. Women anywhere can be coerced to abort, relinquish, or raise their children. The US is full of adoption fraud, but nobody is saying adoption shouldn’t be a choice.

    For all our riches, and the high rate of US abortions, relatively low birth rate, and various supports for moms who choose to parent, still 2.5% of US kids are adopted, which is quite high compared to international rates. If that many US kids are being adopted, there must be some reason birth moms choose this without coersion, and that choice should be available to everyone regardless of financial condition. I don’t see the compassion in condemning unwanted children to grow up poor and uneducated just because “some” poor women might be vulnerable to bribery. There are other ways that countries can and do minimize the chances of a mom being unwillingly parted from her child.

    Point is, if an American wants to adopt from Guatemala, that should be between the US and Guatemala, not every other country on earth. If El Salvador doesn’t want to permit international adoptions, same thing – what does that have to do with Turkey or Japan? Nothing.

    Sure, each country can learn from what the others are doing well, but they do that anyway regardless of a treaty.

  68. SKL December 4, 2012 at 2:56 am #

    PS, I’m not going to return to this page, because I’ve gone way off topic and don’t want to take this any further.

    Bottom line, I agree with Lenore that regardless of the qualitative content of a treaty, the US has no good reason to subject the American people to international scrutiny in individual, private matters.

  69. Andy December 4, 2012 at 3:14 am #

    “Countries that had an international adoption program (because they had practically no resources to take care of orphans locally)”

    I would like to know which country you speak of. For two reasons, one is a possible rational on the part of that country and the other ugly human nature:

    1.) I would like to know why they signed it at all if things have been so great.It is quite possible that the great program you have been in had some strong opposition or at least not much supporters inside that country.

    Assuming that we talk about either some post-communist or third world country, you do not get far without connections and political support no matter how much good you do.

    Plus, there has been quite a few scandals with international adoption being abused. Non voluntary adoptions in bigger then small scale actually happened and contributed to big distrusts to those programs. Systematic abuse of internationally adopted children happened. Such crimes are very hard to solve and stop because it would require cooperation of multiple incompatible and often corrupted police forces.

    I know that post-communist countries wanted to entirely close them for that reason.

    2.) Horrible orphanage and little intra-country adoption do not happen primary because the country is poor but cares. Sadly, they happen because the country as a whole does not care that much and has no culture of adoption.

    The fact that orphanages are not that great for kids was not widely known in communist countries and the situation changes only very slowly. Those kids are out of sign and out of mind of most people – that is until the scandal happen.

    If they come in mind, prejudices against them are common and so are prejudices against foreigners. So is sudden “they are our kids after all” feeling. International programs like this has often been run by small groups of idealists and against strong mistrust of (often establishment) opposition.

  70. Andy December 4, 2012 at 3:16 am #

    @SKL (I forgot to alias previous comment, but it is kinda long.)

    “Point is, if an American wants to adopt from Guatemala, that should be between the US and Guatemala, not every other country on earth. If El Salvador doesn’t want to permit international adoptions, same thing what does that have to do with Turkey or Japan? Nothing.”

    Hague adoption convention or not, Guatemala and USA are free to sign other agreements. Most likely, they have plenty of non UN treaties signed between them.

    That being said, things are often simplier and less messy if standard agreements are used. It is easier or organizations to learn the content of 2 or 3 standard contracts than gazimilion of special contracts. Consequencies, problems and worarounds of standard contracts become well know after the time, so everybody takes less risk by chosing these.

    Plus, smaller countries can often get much better deal then if they would negotiate with big countries directly. Agreements between small and big countries are often one-sided mostly because of unequeal negotiating power. Regardless of which big country we are talking about.

    They often prefere to negotiate as a group and sign international treaties for that reason.

  71. Donald December 4, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    When a need arises, bureaucrats are put in place to address the need.

    The desire to save children from dying in cars. This resulted in some good laws.

    However, when the need goes away, the bureaucrats don’t. They keep passing more laws.

    You must wake your 5 year old and drag them across a gas station. You can’t leave them in the car while you pay. This is true even if you can keep eye contact with your child at all times.

  72. Donna December 4, 2012 at 4:31 am #

    “The problem is that implementing the Hague treaty isn’t getting done because of local politics and resource issues combined with international pressure.”

    As I read the Hague Convention, there is nothing absurd or unreasonably onerous in it. The most onerous provision is the central authority provision and it need not be a newly formed entity solely for this purpose. The rest are the same minimal requirements necessary in the US to adopt domestically. Things that I certainly hope were already happening, like documenting that the child was voluntarily relinquished by the birth mother. If the country can’t pull them together, it shouldn’t be in the adoption business at all.

    And you seem to ignore the point that Guatemala chose to sign the Hague Convention, knowing what it was going to eventually cost them. You, not being a member of the Guatemalan government at the time of signing or ratification, have no idea why. Or what they hoped to gain. I guarantee that it was more than the big bad UN is making us sign this paper.

    As an outsider, you really don’t even know what the government thought of its adoption program. The fact that it had a program is not necessarily indicative. When I was looking into adoption a few years before it closed, Guatemala had just become the hot country that everyone wanted to adopt from due to the young ages of children and there were rumblings already that many in Guatemala were not happy due to the volume and wanted it shut down.

    Because the main thrust of all this is not coercion of birth mothers, it is the fact that countries want to keep their citizens inside their borders and not give them away to the US at birth. It is a fairly universal sentiment and not the fault of the UN.

    For the most part, in this international age, countries do not want to have to individually negotiate and reinvent the wheel 195 times for minor issues such as international adoptions. I’m not sure what the objection is to the UN floating a treaty that is perfectly reasonable in its requirements that countries are 100% free to sign or not sign and leave themselves open to negotiation. Nobody is saying that these treaties should be mandatory.

  73. Andy December 4, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    @Donald As far as I know, child seats rules caused no new bureaucracies to emerge. All needed systems has been in place before them.

    The no child alone in the car rules are more result of general hysteria in the society then something bureaucracy necessarily ends up with. They are an overreaction to rare events and did not originated in bureaucracies.

    I’m sure that there are examples of not-any-more-useful agencies, but these are not it.

  74. Andy December 4, 2012 at 6:19 am #

    Interesting read about Guatemala situation from 2007:

    The main problem seems to be that Guatemala sort-of-joined the convention but did not implemented needed legislature. Sort-of-joined means that they joined it in a way that was unconstitutional in Guatemala.

    Therefore they could formally withdraw from the convention after US ratified it. If they would withdraw, adoptions could continue as before.

    There was political pressure against withdrawal, so adoptions had to stop.

  75. Andy December 4, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    Last link, wikipedia about Guatemala adoption, take it or leave it:

  76. jwgmom December 4, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    I’m saddened by the fact that you posted this without first understanding what it means. First of all, the UN has no way of ordering countries to change their laws.If it did all the children in the world would have food, shelter and an education. Second, the US is a model of the sort of things the Declaration is trying to promote. While our system is far from perfect we at least recognize that people with disabilities are members of society. The next time you decide to post this sort of paranoid rant perhaps you should do a little research first.

  77. Warren December 4, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    These treaties will ensure two things.

    1. That the UN can call on it’s members to help enforce decent care and treatment, in those countries with the history of nightmare treatment.
    2. Our taxes, will help fund programs in those countries. As our gov’ts will not want to send troops/police into those countries, but instead will fund educational, and medical programs instead.

  78. C. S. P. Schofield December 4, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    While I don’t believe that the United Nations is part of a vast sinister conspiracy, I don’t trust it for an instant either. The UN has demonstrated for decades that it is a concatenation of thieves, idiots, and swine. The proper reaction of any self-respecting society to the UN would be to throw the organization out and use that building to house something more useful and morally defensible. Say, a gambling casino and brothel.

  79. Andrew December 4, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    From HSLDA:

    A Quick Legal Lesson to Answer Supporters of UN Treaties
    Michael Farris, J.D., LL.M.

    Some Senators and other proponents of the UN CRPD treaty are trying to mislead people by “sprinkling” a tiny bit of constitutional law into their argument. They assert that we have nothing to worry about regarding our constitutional rights as parents because the Supreme Court has ruled in Reid v. Covert that the Constitution overrides treaties.

    A full answer to this assertion requires knowledge of both international law and constitutional law. Fortunately, I have been a constitutional litigator for over 30 years and a constitutional law professor for 13 years at Patrick Henry College. Moreover, I have an advanced law degree (LL.M ) in Public International Law from the University of London, so I am qualified to answer from both perspectives.

    The short answer is this: Reid v. Covert does, in fact, say that the U.S. Constitution overrides a treaty in all American courts. And that is the proper answer. However, you should know that there are three important limitations on this rule.

    First, you should note that the rule of constitutional supremacy is limited to American courts. There is a steady expansion of international courts and tribunals. Such tribunals are governed under different laws—i.e. international laws—and the standard in place here comes from the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Under the VCLT, treaties trump all domestic law including the Constitution of a nation. (There is a limited exception to this that I have taken advantage of in the Parental Rights Amendment—but since that is not yet the law it does not come into play).

    There is a new UN Convention on the Rights of the Child tribunal which comes from the new UN CRC Third Protocol. Here is a cut and paste from the UN’s own website explaining this new development: “On 19 December 2011, the UN General Assembly approved a third optional protocol on a Communications Procedure, which will allow individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention and its first two optional protocols. The Protocol opens for signature in 2012 and will enter into force upon ratification by 10 UN Member States.”

    So, if a parent ever ends up in front of this or some other UN tribunal, our Constitution will not trump the treaty (unless we adopt the Parental Rights Amendment as I have written it.)
    A second limitation is also very important to know. Parental rights are an implied right in the Constitution and not a textual right. Many judges, including Supreme Court Justice Scalia, believe that parental rights are not a legally enforceable right at all because they are not in the Constitution’s actual text. See. Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000).

    Moreover, the Supreme Court has ruled in Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 (1920), that states rights under the 10th Amendment are trumped by a treaty because they are “reserved” rights. Parental rights might also fall under this same rule because our rights could be considered “reserved” and they are definitely “implied.” We do not know if implied rights will get the benefit of Reid v. Covert or if they will fall under Missouri v. Holland.

    Suffice it to say, we have no guarantee that parental rights will survive against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities because we don’t know if Justices like Scalia (who reject parental rights) will join the internationlists or not. It is very dangerous and people who assert that there is nothing to fear just do not know the law.

    Third, treaties trump state laws and state constitutions. Almost all law in America on parents and children are state laws. Why do parents have to consent to medical treatment for their children? This is not a constitutional rule. This is a state law rule. All homeschooling laws are state law rules. All custody rules are state law rules. Almost all education laws are state law rules.
    Treaties trump all state law rules including all of these when there is conflict.

    So, the truth is this treaty would trump the vast majority of existing American law relative to parents and children. Those who say otherwise do not know what they are talking about.
    This lesson in constitutional law and international law is brought to you free of charge by Michael Farris. For more information, please enroll in Patrick Henry College and we will turn you into a savvy warrior.

  80. Erika December 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Well, congratulations. The anti-treaty faction won.

  81. Wally Hartshorn December 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    re: ” sometimes the best intentions […] can lead to unintended consequences”

    By this logic, Lenore, we should never pass any laws at all, JUST IN CASE.

    What’s that called, when we immediately think of the worst possible outcome and base our decisions on that? Oh yes! Worst First Thinking.

    I realize that sometimes (often) you’re very busy and don’t have time to investigate things more thoroughly. Alas, that means that sometimes things like this are going to slip through the cracks. Oh well, thanks for all that you do and I’m sure your next post will be better! 🙂

  82. sylvia_rachel December 4, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    Lenore, you know I love you, but …

    If the UN really had that much power even over the government policy of member states, never mind individual people’s lives, the world would be a very different place.

    Canada ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child 21 years ago. I guess you could, if you really wanted to, argue that that’s why we have things like school-board-wide bans on peanut-butter sandwiches and principals who disapprove of 8-year-olds walking home from school without a parent … but if the UNCRC is to blame, then what explains the identical (and often more extreme) phenomenon in the US? And if the UNCRC is such a powerful force, then what about Afghanistan? (Afghanistan signed the UNCRC in 1990 and ratified in 1994.)

    The vast majority of American opposition to the UNCRC that I see around the web focuses on a single issue: the right of parents to use corporal punishment. There’s a probably not very big but extremely vocal group of parents in the US who seem to be genuinely terrified that some all-powerful faceless international bureaucracy is going to swoop down and take away their right to hit beat strike whack spank their kids, and THEN WHAT WILL BECOME OF US ALL??? I don’t have a lot of sympathy for this POV, I’m afraid, because I think fewer parents spanking their kids and more parents using less violent, more thoughtful, more effective methods of discipline is a good thing. But in any case, you only have to look at the experiences of countries that have ratified the UNCRC to see that the fear itself is absurd.

    As I mentioned, Canada ratified in 1991. And guess what? You can still spank your kids in Canada (as long as they’re over 2 and under 12, and you use your open hand and not an object). Far fewer people actually spank their kids now than did when I was a kid, but that’s not because Canada signed the CRC, and it’s not because there’s a vast government bureaucracy watching our every move and arresting people — it’s just one of those social changes that happen over time. (We do have lots of PSAs advocating more positive discipline. That’s not the same thing as people being arrested for spanking their kids.)

    I am a fan of the UNCRC — but when you get right down to it, it’s an aspirational document, not a set of enforceable regulations. If it helps create a political and social climate in which whacking your kid with an object is less acceptable, I gotta say, I’m all for that.

  83. Hugo S. Cunningham December 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Walter Olson wrote a thoughtful column on what is wrong with this UN treaty at:

  84. Virginia December 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    At the risk of being repetitive, here’s another article on the treaty (which was killed by the obstructionist Republican minority of the U.S. Senate, btw):

  85. Warren December 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Am part first nations and just the mere mention of the work treaty sends shivers down my spine. LOL

  86. Andy December 5, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    @C. S. P. Schofield The trouble with your new honorable organization is that it would be unable to replace UN. UN is an organization where basically all countries participate. If you want “all” the countries as members, you have to include also those you do not like.

    Your organization would have only a few members and would act just as yet-another-group-of-countries-with-common-special-interest. Such groups are not rare, but naturally protect only interests of its members.

    Despicable countries and dictatorships are not about to disappear just because you stopped talking to them. Whether you like it or not, they are part of environment we live in – unless you plan world take over.

  87. Marc Armitage December 5, 2012 at 3:52 am #

    The parental rights panic against UN Conventions, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, never ceases to amaze me. What concerns me most, however, is that people seem not to either realise or care how it looks to the rest of the world that the US is one of only three countries on this entire world that have not signed it.

    The arguments put by those against ratification, like those quoted here, simply make the rest of us shake our heads in disbelief.

  88. B December 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    too bad about the misinformed Tea-Party crackpot commentary – don’t want to confuse the truth with the facts now do we?

    Sigh – the Party of No gets it wrong. AGAIN.

  89. AW13 December 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    @Marc Armitage: My argument was that I wanted more clarification as to the writing of some of the Articles, and a clearer definition of the terms being used. I’m not opposed to the aim of the treaty, I just want it to be more specific in its scope. Why on earth would you shake your head in disbelief at that? I’m not looking to beat my child into submission (as one of the earlier posters mentioned that she had heard as an argument against ratification) – I don’t use corporal punishment – and I don’t believe that the UN is just waiting to swoop down and take away my child, I just don’t agree with the treaty in this form. That’s why I opposed it. I’m not a crackpot tea partier or a knee-jerk reactionary, and I’m a little offended that people seem to be categorizing all who opposed the ratification of this treaty as such.

  90. Rachel December 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    LENORE! You should know better than to post without fact checking! This is a bunch of hooey.

  91. Megan December 7, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    I’m so disappointed that you would post this without a more thorough vetting Leonore. I love reading your blog but am tempted to unsubscribe from this feed.

    Our sovereignty is not at all threatened by this treaty as others have already explained. When the Senate Foreign Relations committee approved the treaty they included language that specifically forbade it’s use in court suites in the U.S. Why are we threatened by this and for God’s sake Leonore, why didn’t you do a little examination into this issue before posting this?

  92. Megan December 7, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    I’m so sorry I mispelled your name Lenore!

  93. JP December 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    Though the article that started this discussion off is nothing more than steaming tripe served up in tomato sauce, the dessert is rather tasty and the comments get more savory with every bite.
    I think the real issues are much closer to the bone (a good chew for the old dawg.) Better than an after-dinner cee-gar.

    (Sylvia Rachel, nice to know that 21 years of legal history have not yet tipped us over the brink…)

    @Andrew. Thanks for that legal lesson.
    When pondering Justice Scalia and his merry band of pranksters (concerning: See. Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000) whatever “implied” constitutional non-delivery of rights may thus ensue….it occurrs to me that perhaps this all falls in nicely with other global
    fixturing (concerning international commercial and financial adventures.) See: WTO, IMF, World Bank etc.

    As to the difference between “reserved” and “implied” (Reid v. Covert / Missouri v. Holland, et al) –

    With all that trumpin’ jumpin’ and thumpin’ going on, seems to me these treaties could wind up burying all our hearts at Wounded Knee.

  94. Trey December 10, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

    Don’t you vet these things before you hand the podium over to someone else? This is nonsense on a good day and diminishes your credibility.

  95. Desiree January 2, 2013 at 6:32 am #

    A friend of mine had this as his facebook status on Remembrance Day. It seems very appropriate in this case. How terrifying to think that the government may dictate how a person raises their children.

    “Remember that our men and women have fought in foxholes, trenches, exposed ground, and through flooded ground to defend our freedoms. When a politician today tells you you need to give them up because of some bogeyman they trot out for you, remember how much those freedoms cost, and what it might cost to get them back. Let’s not sell cheaply what they’ve paid dearly for.”

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