Only the U.S. and Somalia have refused to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child
However, Todres said the U.S still has child laborers, citing a current bill in Congress that is seeking to strengthen child labor provision related to the agriculture sector. He also reminded opponents that the U.S has a relatively large high school dropout rate, with some U.S children going hungry and hundreds of thousands at risk of sexual exploitation each year.
"Ultimately if one is concerned about the loss of parental authority, then one should look at the text of the CRC itself," he said, highlighting 19 provisions in the text that stress the role of the parent in the child's life. "Drafters understood, when ensuring the rights of children, they would be most successful when ensuring the rights of the family too."
Although there are other articles in the convention that conflict with American law — it prohibits corporal punishment, for example — Linda Elrod, a law professor at Washburn University and supporter of the Campaign for Ratification, said she had not experienced countries receiving "report cards" from the U.N. Committee in the 20 years it had been operating.
"My reason for supporting it is that it is basically a bill of rights for children that says they are people," she said, stressing how Article 12 in particular gives the child a voice and a way to express it. "We helped draft the U.N. convention and got the rest of the world to adopt that standard. Yes, it gives children rights, but I don't think this takes away from anyone else's rights. It just adds a balance."