Action Alert: Meet with your Federal Legislators to #StoptheShock

Congress’ failure to end the use of electric shock torture at the Judge Rotenberg Center earlier this year does not mark the end of the fight to stop the shock. 

We have another legislative opportunity coming up: the end of the year omnibus bill. An omnibus bill is a bill that covers a lot of different ways the government will spend money, so we are able to talk about things like this ban.

It’s been 8 years since the FDA’s expert panel ruled that the JRC’s electric shock devices are inevitably harmful. Thanks to your advocacy, we’ve seen the FDA finalize regulations that banned the manufacture, distribution, and use of skin shock devices. But in an infuriating decision, the ban was overturned last year, leaving students with intellectual and developmental disabilities still subject to electric shocks to control their behavior. The people subjected to the device shouldn’t have to wait one more day – in order to end this torturous practice, we need a complete ban, and we need it quickly. We need Congress to include the ban on JRC’s use of skin shock devices in the end of year omnibus bill.

Here’s what you can do to reach crucial targets and make your voice heard: 

  • Call your members of Congress. Ask them to include a ban on electric shock torture in the omnibus bill. You can use our script:

My name is  [your full name] , and I am from  [your city]. I am a constituent of Senator/Representative [NAME] . I’m calling to ask Senator/Representative [NAME] to include language in  the omnibus bill that would completely ban the use of electric shock for behavior modification. Only one institution in the country still uses electric shocks this way, and the UN found the practice to be torture in 2013. The FDA banned this use of electric shocks in 2020, but the DC Circuit Court overturned the ban on a technicality. Congress has the power to stop electric shock torture by including this ban in the omnibus bill. Can I count on Senator/Representative [NAME]’s support to include a ban in the end of year omnibus bill?

  • Organize a virtual or in person meeting with your representative. 
    These meetings have the greatest impact in terms of making your concerns heard.
    • ASAN will be holding a Hill Day on [Insert date] open to community members, as well as offering a Hill Day training for people who wish to arrange their own meetings. Learn how to join our hill day here [LINK]. Sign up for the Hill Day Training here [LINK]
    •  Our guide walks you through meeting with your legislators’ staff one-on-one even if you can’t visit their office.

 Our guide walks you through meeting with your legislators’ staff one-on-one even if you can’t visit their office.

  • Encourage others to support #StoptheShock. Many people are unaware of the inhumane usage of skin shock devices on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Share this email with colleagues, friends, and family and encourage them to contact their legislators to Stop the Shock.  

Want to make a call, but unable to speak on a phone call due to a disability? Our Proxy Calling system is open! Want to help someone else make a call? Consider signing up to be a proxy caller.

Have call anxiety, or wondering what to expect from a call to your elected officials? Check out this guide to making a call to your members of Congress. 

Contingent shock for behavioral control is an act of violence against the disabled community and cannot be allowed to continue. You have the power to make a difference, meet with your legislators and demand they #StoptheShock