printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

The Truth About the Disabilities Treaty: Myth Busters

On U.S. Sovereignty and Treaties

Myth: Ratification of the treaty would infringe upon and undermine U.S. sovereignty.
If the United States ratifies, U.S. law, made by Americans, would continue to govern.

Myth: Ratification of the treaty would result in the United States taking orders from international bureaucrats on how to treat disabled citizens.
The Disabilities Committee (treaty body) cannot require the U.S. or Americans to do anything. We can take or leave their recommendations as we see fit.

Myth: Human rights treaties are an improper issue for the exercise of treaty-making power under the Constitution.
The U.S. has a proud tradition of using treaties to uphold American values and principles, including treaties combating genocide and racial discrimination, and torture, and upholding religious freedom and freedom of expression.

Myth: If ratification of the treaty won’t change U.S. law it won’t benefit Americans.
Although ratification will not alter U.S. law, it will position the U.S. to play an essential role in opening the rest of the world to Americans with disabilities, including our wounded warriors, who wish to travel, study, and work abroad.

On Family Life Impact

Myth: Ratification of the treaty would infringe upon and undermine parental rights.
U.S. ratification would protect the authority of parents to raise their children as they see fit, including making their own decisions about education, home-schooling, and parental discipline.

Myth: Ratification of the treaty would empower the UN’s “committee of experts,” to decide whether or not parents are in compliance with the treaty.
The treaty body cannot require parents to do anything. United States law would continue to protect the authority of parents to raise their children as they see fit.

Myth: The treaty is an attack on American ideals and morals.
The treaty is inspired by -- and expressly embraces -- American ideals and morals, including non-discrimination, equality of opportunity, inclusion, respect for inherent dignity, and the freedom to make one’s own choices.

Myth: The treaty’s result on American family life is unknown, and therefore dangerous.
The U.S. would ratify the treaty on its terms, which are well known, and no international body can change that.

Myth: The treaty requires creation of a national registry of children with disabilities.
The Disabilities Treaty does not require creation of a national registry of children with disabilities. The treaty simply affirms the right of children with disabilities to have a birth certificate, a name, and nationality -- just like other children. 

On Abortion

Myth: Article 25 provides a pro-abortion mandate for disabled people.
The Disabilities Treaty does not change U.S. law regarding abortion. Many countries that prohibit or restrict abortion have ratified the treaty.

On Legal Issues

Myth: The treaty would give the U.S. government, under the direction of international bureaucrats, the power to determine what is in the best interest of a disabled child.
Ratification would not result in any change to U.S. law or give international bureaucrats any authority over American children. U.S. law on the “best interests of the child” would govern without change.

Myth: Accession to the treaty will lead to lawsuits, including lawsuits against private individuals.
As ratified, there could be no lawsuits brought under the Disabilities Treaty.

Myth: Ratification of the treaty will result in federal government intrusion into State interests.
U.S. ratification would not alter the balance of power between the federal government and the States.

Back to Top

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.