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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

The CRPD Truth Campaign: Answering the Opposition

CRPD Yes! 2012 signIf you were unable to attend the community leadership call on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) last week, you can view it on YouTube. The call featured Senator Tom Harkin, who called us to action!

Senator Harkin explained that “the number of calls that came into the Senate offices last year opposing the disability treaty outnumbered the ones that came in supporting it by a factor of 50 to 1. But we also know that the vast majority of the American people want this and support it.”

As USICD’s President Marca Bristo said on the call, “We’re calling upon our Senators to have the courage and the dedication to do what’s right… It’s seldom that people have a second opportunity to do the right thing.”

The Truth Campaign: Answering the Opposition

There are three main myths being spread about the treaty.

Sovereignty: Let your U.S. Senators know that you care about this treaty and tell them not to get fooled by the lies and misrepresentation of the leaders of the Home School Legal Defense Association. All human rights treaties passed by the U.S. Senate include the same RUD (a legally binding condition added to treaties to protect U.S. sovereignty) that is included in the CRPD.  U.S. sovereignty has not been affected by those treaties and will not be impacted by this treaty.

Abortion: There is nothing in this treaty that changes abortion rights in this country. It simply states that people with disabilities should have the same access to health care as people without disabilities. It is a statement of non-discrimination only – not a change in U.S. law or policy.

Homeschooling / parental rights: This is a non-discrimination treaty that does not change our law but confirms our commitment to disability rights and allows us to impact disability rights globally! That means NO changes to U.S. laws covering parental rights.  That means kids can still be homeschooled – nothing relating to homeschooling changes. Furthermore, the treaty supports people with disabilities and their right to live in the community among family and protects parents and children from separation on the basis of disability. 

How You Can Help

  • We hope to have a hearing in June in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and we ask you to come and represent your state.
  • We ask you to make calls, visit your Senators’ offices (locally or in Washington), send emails, and talk to the press in your state. Disability advocates are being told by senators and their staffs that they have not yet decided. Do not accept their indecision – keep going back until you get an answer.
  • You can find your Senators’ contact information at

If you need assistance organizing, contact the US International Council on Disabilities (USICD) at [email protected].


This is not just a disability campaign, our coalition has over 500 organizations representing veterans, civil rights groups, human rights groups, religious groups, GLBT groups, among many others – all working in collaboration. We ask you to contact those groups in your community to join you in the campaign for the passage of the treaty. If you need assistance getting in contact with groups in your area, please contact USICD.

As Senator Harkin said, “If the disability treaty does not pass, it will make it more difficult for other disability legislation in the future. Passing the CRPD would put more life into our efforts on all sorts of disability policies.”

We need you to help us ensure that the CRPD passes! You can learn more at the new website dedicated to the CRPD:


  1. Mellis White says

    We urge the United States Senate to oppose ratification of the CRPD.

    I want the right as a parent to choose the language my child uses!