All of us were stunned and outraged when earlier this month, a federal appeals court overturned the FDA’s ban on electric shock devices used at the Judge Rotenberg Center. As long as the residents of the JRC, most of whom are disabled people of color, are in danger, our work is not done. We wanted to update you on next steps, and uplift some amazing grassroots campaigns aimed at protecting our community members from torture.
After the ruling overturning the ban, the FDA has 45 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling. If they decide not to appeal, they still have the option to reissue the rule, as we explained in our statement. At the same time, we’re having conversations with our partners and allies on Capitol Hill about next steps to end torture at the JRC — no matter what the FDA decides. Once we have a clearer picture of what kind of Congressional action will be most effective, we’ll update you with a new action alert.
In the meantime, there is a lot of great grassroots advocacy happening right now. Auteach has put out this guide to asking prominent organizations to condemn the electric shock torture used at the JRC. This includes groups like ABA International (ABAI), which has taken a public stance in support of the JRC as recently as last year. ABAI must examine its history and practices that contribute to the abuse that autistic people face — and reversing their support for this torture is an urgent first step.
There’s also an effort in the Massachusetts state legislature, where the JRC is located, to stop the shock. You can sign this petition in support of Bill H.225, which would ban aversive “treatments” like electric shocks. If you’re a resident of Massachusetts, you can write or call your representative in the state legislature too.
We know we can count on your advocacy when it matters the most. Join us in taking action so that everyone in our community can live free from torture and abuse!