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RELEASE: ACLU disregards disability rights protections

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  • sndrake@aol.com
    For Immediate Release: October 31, 2003 Contact: Diane Coleman 708-209-1500 ext 11 Janine Kemp 503-622-6387 or 503-504-9787(cell) ACLU disregards disability
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2003
      For Immediate Release:
      October 31, 2003
      Contact:  Diane Coleman 708-209-1500 ext 11
                    Janine Kemp 503-622-6387
                    or 503-504-9787(cell)

      ACLU disregards disability rights protections, says national group

      Thirteen years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was
      signed into law by Pres. George Bush, our current president's
      father, the American Civil Liberties Union is ignoring the law's
      nondiscrimination protections for people with disabilities --
      including people like Terri Schiavo.  The ACLU, an organization
      that claims to enforce the Bill of Rights, has set aside
      Terri Schiavo's due process rights, in favor of a guardian who
      wants to starve her to death because of her disabilities.

      "Treating people differently based on health or disability status
      violates the rights of people with disabilities under the ADA. 
      Absent proof that it is truly the person's decision, withholding
      medical care based on the belief that he or she would rationally
      want to die because of a disability is discriminatory," said the
      statement released Monday by over 20 national disability
      groups including ADA Watch, the National Coalition for Disability
      Rights, the National Coalition on Self-Determination and the
      National Council on Independent Living.

      "If this situation related to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the rights
      of African-Americans or non-disabled women were threatened,
      the ACLU would jump in on the side of saving, not ending, life,"
      said ADA Watch's Jim Ward. "It's frightening that the opinions
      and desires of a person with a disability are so devalued that
      Terri Schiavo's life could be ended on the basis of hearsay from
      a husband who may have conflict of interest."

      "This is not the first time that the ACLU has gone to court to
      argue for a discriminatory so-called 'right' for a disabled woman
      to be starved to death in the absence of any terminal condition,"
      said Diane Coleman, President of Not Dead Yet.  "In California,
      they brought the infamous 'right to die' case involving
      Elizabeth Bouvia, a woman with cerebral palsy.  Because of
      her disability, the ACLU viewed this depressed 26-year-old
      woman as the equivalent of someone who was imminently dying. 
      Fortunately, by the time they won the case, Ms. Bouvia had
      recovered from her suicidal crisis and did not choose to die. 
      But in Terri Schiavo's case, there's no credible evidence that
      this is her choice.  Ms. Schiavo is very clearly determined to live."

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