Yesterday the U.S. Senate began debating whether or not to ratify the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty, which would recognize fundamental human rights for persons living with disabilities on an international level. Currently 124 countries have ratified the treaty, and 154 have signed it including the United States.
The treaty requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate in order to be ratified. However, over 30 conservative senators have already pledged to block any international treaty up for debate during the lame duck session. Many conservatives fear that ratifying the treaty would present a challenge to U.S. sovereignty. In addition, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires that persons with disabilities have equal access to reproductive health care, which some argue will lead to more abortions.
Supporters of the treaty believe it would revolutionize disability rights across the globe. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) has called the claim that the treaty will lead to more abortions "absolutely, positively, factually inaccurate," stating that the treaty only acknowledges what procedures are legal in that country. He also stated that he believed the Americans with Disabilities Act (which the treaty was modeled after) is the standard of disability rights, and the treaty would "take that gold standard and extend it to countries that have never heard of disability rights."
Media Resources: UN dispatch 11/28/12; CBS News 11/27/12; Washington Post 11/27/12; Huffington Post 11/26/12
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
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7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .