Today on the floor of the Senate, a group of conservative (and soon-to-be up-for-reelection) Senators joined forced and ignored disabled veteran, former GOP presidential nominee and former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS), his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), advocates for disabled veterans and, you know, the other millions of disabled Americans who they don’t normally even bother pretending to care about anyway (and their advocates) to prevent the ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities with the “leadership” of tea party darling and freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).
The convention would effectively internationalize the U.S.’s current law on rights for disabled people, known as the Americans with Disabilities Act, and allow disabled Americans more access to travel, work and live abroad, according to advocates like the Doles, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), retiring Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lee’s fellow tea-partier Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who said in response to right-wing critics of her vote, “It would take a step toward making it easier for disabled Americans to live and work overseas, without impinging on U.S. sovereignty or Congress’ authority to determine our disability laws.”
Lee and the right-wing organization Heritage Action (the for-profit lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation, staffed almost exclusively by former Heritage Foundation staffers) said that the conservative opposition to the vote was based on sovereignty… as well as the home-schooling preferences of parents of disabled children (an issue not addressed by the treaty) and the fact that disabled people might obtain reproductive rights from the treaty (including abortion).
That’s right: Republicans voted that disabled people shouldn’t have access to equal rights, if some of the rights they might obtain involve contraception or abortion. Well, and because “sovereignty,” because apparently some people would like to be able to take away rights from the disabled at some point down the line without anyone at the UN being able to say anything mean and hurt our feelings.
That’s GOP thought-leadership today after a series of crushing 2012 electoral defeats related to their ongoing efforts to shoehorn their anti-abortion beliefs into every single issue: vote against yet more pieces of legislation, because it might tangentially relate to abortion. Good plan!
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