Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Year IV, Edition 159

This front page features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this page for 40 more news items.

"We are just going to try to work some magic and hopefully a miracle. I have to believe that somebody is doing something, somewhere to stop this judicial homicide."

--Suzanne Carr, sister of Terri Schiavo, whose feeding tube was removed Wednesday by court order (First story)

"We are going to seek whatever legal alternatives are available and seek the best minds to find another avenue to submit to the courts to see if there can be a change in this ruling."
--Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who ordered his staff on Wednesday to find a way to block the court ruling that allows Terri Schiavo to starve to death (First story)



Terri Schiavo's Feeding Tube Removed;
Governor Bush Pledges Action

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 15, 2003

TAMPA, FLORIDA--Doctors on Wednesday afternoon removed the feeding tube that provided nourishment to Terri Schiavo.

If the feeding tube is not replaced, Terri is expected to die within the next two weeks.

About 100 disability rights advocates and right to life activists have been keeping a 24-hour vigil outside the hospice that has been Terri's home for the last several years. Some hold signs with "Keep Terri alive" and "Starvation is murder."

The advocates are hoping for a last-minute reprieve. Two years ago, Terri's feeding tube had been removed for two days before the court ordered it replaced after new evidence was found in her case.

Earlier Wednesday, Governor Jeb Bush told Terri's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, that he was directing his legal staff to find a way to block the court order that allows Michael Schiavo to end his wife's life.

"We are going to seek whatever legal alternatives are available and seek the best minds to find another avenue to submit to the courts to see if there can be a change in this ruling," Bush said.

"I am not a doctor, I am not a lawyer," the governor added. "But I know that if a person can be able to sustain life without life support, that should be tried."

Terri's family visited her shortly after the feeding tube was removed.

"She's OK for the next couple of days," said Suzanne Carr, Terri's sister. "We are just going to try to work some magic and hopefully a miracle. I have to believe that somebody is doing something, somewhere to stop this judicial homicide."

Mr. Schiavo, Terri's husband and guardian, said he will not allow Terri's parents to visit her alone.

The Schindlers have exhausted nearly every legal alternative to keep their daughter alive, against Mr. Schiavo's wishes. They believe that she is alert, responsive, and that she could benefit from rehabilitative therapies.

Several doctors have sided with Mr. Schiavo's claims that Terri has been in a "persistent vegetative state" since she collapsed from a potassium imbalance in February 1990, and that she cannot recover. While other doctors and therapists have disputed those claims, the courts have held that Mr. Schiavo could have her feeding tube removed.

In 1993, more than $1 million were awarded to the Schiavos in a medical malpractice suit against the doctors who failed to diagnose her chemical imbalance. Mr. Schiavo told the jury he planned to take care of his wife for the rest of her life, which medical experts predicted would be until she was about 51 years old. She is now 36.

The Schindlers say Michael Schiavo failed to mention that his wife didn't want to be kept alive "by artificial means" until after the $1 million settlement. They claim that he wants his wife to die so he can have what's left of the settlement, and so he can marry another woman.

On Tuesday, an Edmonton, Alberta disability rights group asked Canada's Immigration Minister Denis Coderre to offer emergency asylum to Terri.

"It was the most blatant and brutal case of anti-disability discrimination ... that I had ever come across," said Human Life Matters founder Mark Pickup. "They were doing no more than I would do if it was my daughter in that position, so I said we'd try to help."

Joni Eareckson Tada, Christian broadcaster and disability rights advocate, is one of the activists at the vigil.

"Terri's fundamental right to life has been denied, all because she is severely disabled," Tada wrote recently on her Website. "And I cannot begin to tell you the enormous sadness I feel. I cannot begin to describe the outrage . . . actually the righteous indignation I feel . . . to think that the Florida State Supreme Court as well as the U.S. Federal Court . . . they have turned their backs on this young woman."

"Doctors remove feeding tube keeping disabled woman alive" (Naples News)
"Starvation begins for Terri Schiavo" (World Net Daily)
"Dramatic Decision In Terri Schiavo's Case" (Joni Eareckson Tada)
"Media Ignore Fight for Woman's Life" (Accuracy In Media)
"Terri Schiavo's Right To Live" (Inclusion Daily Express)
Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation



New Suit Challenges Guardianship Rules For Institution Residents

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 15, 2003

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS--A new discrimination lawsuit has been filed that challenges Arkansas guardianship rules regarding people with developmental disabilities in institutions.

The suit represents two residents of Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center who would like to move out of the institution.

The suit, filed by the Arkansas Disability Rights Center, claims that residents at the six state-run institutions are not given a voice in deciding where they will live. The suit accuses the state of violating the constitutional rights of institution residents that have guardians, by ignoring their input when they are admitted or released. It also seeks an order requiring residents to be given attorneys and hearings in front of a judge.

A similar suit was filed March 21 of this year on behalf of a woman who wanted to move out of Conway Human Development Center but was not allowed to do so because the decision was opposed by her sister, who was her legal guardian. That woman, identified only as "Jane Doe", died on August 9.

DRC attorney Janet C. Baker sought class-action status for that suit, which would have made it apply to the other 1,200 people with developmental disabilities currently housed in Arkansas institutions.



Dozens Of Death Row Inmates Claim Mental Retardation

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 15, 2003

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI--There are currently 70 inmates on Mississippi's death row.

Dozens of them have filed appeals claiming they have mental retardation.

In June of 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executing convicts determined to have mental retardation is "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

The high court left it up to individual states to decide how to define mental retardation. Many, however, decided to use scores of 70 or below on IQ tests to determine mental retardation.

In the states that have a death penalty, hundreds of death row inmates have appealed their death sentences based on mental retardation. Last week, three Mississippi inmates filed mental retardation claims after the Supreme Court refused to hear their cases.

"(Defense attorneys are) raising retardation claims on people with 95 IQs," said Mississippi Assistant Attorney General Marvin 'Sonny' White. "They may not be successful in them, but they are still litigating it."

"Inmates floating IQ-based appeals" (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
"The Death Penalty and Mental Retardation" (Inclusion Daily Express)



Women With Disabilities Face Double Discrimination, Report Reveals

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 15, 2003

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND--According to a report released Wednesday by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, women with disabilities face double discrimination based on negative assumptions about them.

The study, entitled "Disabled Women in Northern Ireland: Situation, Experience and Identity", found that women with disabilities have faced discrimination from health professionals, employers and government agencies.

Women surveyed said they faced low expectations about their ability to form relationships, to become mothers or caregivers, or to hold down a job.

"Many felt that because they were not expected to have a career, nor to assume caring roles experienced by other women, this limited their life choices," said Evelyn Collins, the Equality Commission's chief executive.

The study also found that women in Northern Ireland who have disabilities are less likely to be employed or have formal education than men with disabilities.

"It is clear that there is significant work to be done to eliminate disadvantages faced by disabled women," said Collins. "This look at their situation and experience will help to bring greater focus on the issues of double discrimination and multiple identity."

The report was part of a larger research project, "Re-Thinking Identity, The Challenge of Diversity", covering a number of human rights issues in Northern Ireland.

"Disabled Women Experience Double Discrimination" (Equality Commission For Northern Ireland)



"Living Independently"

October 15, 2003

GARDEN CITY, KANSAS--The following five paragraphs are excerpts from a story in Wednesday's Garden City Telegram:

Lance Pennington was about 6 years old the first time he remembers children laughing at him.

He went home and asked his dad, "Am I handicapped?"

Lance's father, Carl Pennington, told him the truth, "Yes, you are handicapped, and you'll have some limitations, like not being able to do physical labor, but your limitations are less compared to your life or will."

He warned his son, "The worst limitation you could have is yourself."

Since then, Lance Pennington hasn't let his disability get in his way.

Entire article:
"Living Independently" (Garden City Telegram)



The 60-Minute Intellectual: Eugenics Perspectives

Links about eugenics: Some history and some opinion


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives -- Two years ago:

Advocates Tell San Francisco: "Just Say 'NO!' to Laguna Honda"

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 15, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--Hundreds of disability rights activists are expected to descend on San Francisco at the end of this week to deliver a message to Californians and especially Mayor Willie Brown.

That message reads: "Just Say No to Laguna Honda! Tear Down the Walls!"

Laguna Honda is the largest nursing home in the nation with 1200 beds. Many of the residents live in rooms with up to 30 other people. It's also one of the most expensive facilities, costing over $90,000 a year per person in 1999, compared to the national average of $40,000, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

The good news that the 132-year-old facility will be torn down.

The bad news is that in November of 1999, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a $299 million bond issue to pay for building a new Laguna Honda. Those plans are moving forward in spite of the world-wide movement away from institutional settings, not to mention federal laws promoting much less costly community supports and the June 1999 U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision which ruled that "unnecessarily" institutionalizing people with disabilities violated the Constitution.

The activists from several groups are calling on the city and county to direct resources where they belong and will cost much less -- in the community.

Hundreds are expected from the disability rights group ADAPT, which will hold its Fall Action in San Francisco starting Saturday October 20 through Thursday October 25.

"Nightmare at Laguna Honda" (ADAPT)
"ADAPT Tells San Francisco: 'Don't Use Public $$$ to Rebuild Dinosaur'" (ADAPT),70R
"Stuck at The Nursing Home Door" by Marta Russell (Ragged Edge -- January 2000)
"Laguna Honda Hospital -- Largest Nursing Home In US" (Inclusion Daily Express)


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