State Rep. Sarah Unsicker
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — During debate on House Bill 419 Tuesday, state Rep. Sarah
Unsicker, D-Shrewsbury, offered an amendment that would establish the Missouri Declaration of
the Rights of the Child.
Unsicker said her amendment took clear inspiration from the United Nations’ Rights of the Child
adopted by the international governing body in 1989. This UN Convention has been ratified by
every country in the world except for the United States.
“If we’re going to show our commitment to children in this state, we should ensure they have
rightstheir rights are protected, including the rights to equality, their development, basic needs,
education and recreation,” Unsicker said. “Most of all, they should be free from cruelty, neglect,
Though the United States is the only member of the United Nations that has not adopted the
Declaration Convention of the Rights of the Child, Unsicker believes the Missouri General
Assembly should establish its own doctrine to uphold these values, especially at a time when
Missouri struggles to uphold its responsibilities to children. She cited the chronically
underfunded Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services and Missouri’s bottom
rank in healthcare for children and in state funding for elementary and secondary education as
areas that needed radical improvement, among others.
However, when Unsicker offered her amendment, it was rejected on technical grounds, even
though most of the debate from Republicans had invoked the well-being of children.
“When House Republicans work to pass discriminatory language against transgender
individuals, they often invoke child safety as the primary reason for passing such bills,” Unsicker
said. “But when I try to attach an amendment that would protect children from harm, suddenly
they’re not interested in discussing what the safety and well-being of children actually means.
Missourians deserve better and they deserve a commitment that the children of
Featured image: Associated Press