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
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .