The Disability Law & Policy e-Newsletter
An electronic publication of
The Law, Health Policy & Disability Center at the University of Iowa College of Law
The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University
June 26, 2012
Volume 9, Issue 5
The Disability Law & Policy Newsletter is a monthly publication that aims to inform disability advocates, scholars, and service providers of the most current issues in disability law, policy, research, best practices, and breaking news.
Below is a topical overview of the items presented in this issue.
A. CIVIL RIGHTS: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Sections
504 & 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state civil rights law
B. EDUCATION: Special education & youth transition to successful postsecondary outcomes
C. TECHNOLOGY / TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Assistive, information, and communication technologies
D. HEALTHCARE / BENEFITS: Social Security Income / Social Security Disability Income / Medicaid & Medicare
E. WORKFORCE: Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA), & Vocational Rehabilitation
F. INDEPENDENCE: News for and about the Independent Living Movement
G. EMERGENCY RESPONSE / PREPAREDNESS: Disaster mitigation and preparedness news
H. INTERNATIONAL: News for and about disability topics outside the U.S.
I. MISCELLANEOUS: News and topics may vary
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A. CIVIL RIGHTS
1. N.Y.C. Comptroller Threatens to Halt Taxi Contract Unless All Are Made Accessible
On May 2, 2012, New York City comptroller John Liu threatened to reject the contract for a new fleet of taxi cabs unless Mayor Bloomberg amends the contract to require all taxis to be wheelchair accessible. Liu stated that the contract currently violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and vowed to use all available legal remedies to fight the contract if the mayor refuses. The city law department argues that although the comptroller has the power under the city charter to reject city contracts with vendors under certain circumstances, ADA noncompliance is not grounds for refusing to approve the contract.
Comptroller Liu announced his intention to reject the contract just months after the mayor and Governor Cuomo made a deal that would increase the number of wheelchair-accessible taxis by 2,000 and offer incentives to current medallion owners to buy them instead of other taxis. Only 232 of the city's approximate 13,000 yellow cabs are currently accessible. The city is also currently appealing a federal judge's ruling in December that it is not doing enough to make yellow cabs wheelchair accessible. The suit was stayed by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, allowing the city to proceed in its plan to convert all cabs to a single model, the "taxi of tomorrow": a 2013 Nissan van that is not wheelchair accessible but can be retrofitted to allow wheelchairs in and out.
Liu argued along with disability rights advocates that the city should follow London's example, where all taxis can accommodate wheelchair users. "How can it really be the Taxi of Tomorrow if a growing number of people cannot use it?" he pointed out. Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Democrat who had strongly urged the Mayor to make more taxis accessible for wheelchair users, pointed to the discrepancy between the earlier agreement to increase the number of accessible cabs and the present contract. "Why would you ... lock the industry into a vehicle that is not accessible?" he asked.
Full Story: Pervaiz Shallwani, Comptroller Signals Stop on Taxi Deal, Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2012, available at
2. Department of Justice Reviews Possible Civil Rights Violations in Kansas State Services
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is reviewing complaints reporting possible civil rights violations of individuals with physical disabilities in Kansas. According to the complaints, Kansans with physical disabilities currently experience long waits, sometimes upward of three years, on a waiting list to receive state services. The federal Office of Civil Rights attempted to negotiate a settlement with Governor Sam Brownbeck's administration in this matter. However, Gov. Brownbeck's office issued a statement blaming the problem on decisions made by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's administration in 2008 during severe budget problems and claiming that the state is now in compliance with federal requirements. Frank Campbell, the regional manager for the Office of Civil Rights, announced in a letter that the negotiations had failed and that the Office of Civil Rights had decided to refer the Americans with Disabilities Act compliance review to the DOJ for investigation. The DOJ will determine whether the state is doing enough to provide the services required under federal law.
Under the U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead ruling, states must provide services to people with disabilities in a community setting when possible. Approximately 3,500 Kansans with physical disabilities are currently on the waiting list for these kinds of services. Advocates for Kansans with disabilities stated that the waiting list could be eliminated by increasing state spending by $33 million, and they are willing to compromise by cutting the waiting list to a one-year wait. State legislators have just resumed the 2012 legislative session to work on the budget, which includes funding for persons with disabilities, and Democrats said the solution is to increase spending to meet the need for services. "At a time when we have $500 million in the bank, it is very difficult for us to look at people who are on a waiting list and say, we don't have the ability to help you," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis.
Full Story: Long Waits for Kansas Services for Disabled Draw Federal Scrutiny, The Wichita Eagle, Apr. 25, 2012, available at
See Also: Scott Rothschild, Justice Department to Look at Waiting List for Kansans with Physical Disabilities, ljworld.com, Apr. 24, 2012, available at
3. National Federation of the Blind Assists in Litigation Against Philadelphia Library
On May 2, 2012, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) announced that it has filed suit against the Free Library of Philadelphia along with four patrons, who are blind, of the library because they cannot access the library's program that loans free NOOK Simple Touch e-readers to patrons over the age of fifty. The NOOK devices, manufactured by Barnes & Noble, are inaccessible to blind patrons, unlike other e-readers that employ text-to-speech technology and Braille to present e-books in an accessible format. The lawsuit alleges that the library's conduct violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the complaint, the United States Department of Education issued a "Dear Colleague Letter" and "Frequently Asked Questions" document to the Library clarifying the obligations of federally funded institutions to purchase accessible e-book readers. The library lends Braille and audio books to blind patrons, but the selection of books is limited and the books are not available in these formats until years after they are available to the general public. Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the NFB, said: "The technology to make e-books accessible exists, allowing blind people for the first time to buy or borrow books as soon as they are released. ... [Libraries] should be purchasing accessible e-book reading devices and demanding that their vendors provide them, not perpetuating the status quo by purchasing inaccessible technology and needlessly relegating their blind and print-disabled patrons to separate and unequal service."
Full Story: NFB, Press Release, National Federation of the Blind Assists in Litigation Against Free Library of Philadelphia, Apr. 30, 2012, available at
See Also: Joseph A. Slobodzian, Lawsuit: E-readers Needed for the Blind, Not Just Seniors, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 7, 2012, available at
4. Partially Blind Triathlete Sues over Requirement that He Wear Blackout Glasses
On April 25, 2012, Aaron Scheidies, a 30-year-old legally blind triathlete, filed a lawsuit against three triathlon groups alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The suit alleges that USA Triathlon, The International Triathlon Union (ITU), and 3-D Racing, a sponsor, violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) by requiring runners with partial vision to wear blackout glasses during the running portion of the event, rendering them completely without sight, in order to "level the playing field." ITU argues that the rule makes the competition fair for all athletes because partially blind athletes compete in a category with completely blind athletes, and athletes with some vision have an advantage. The blackout glasses have been an official requirement since 2010.
Scheidies has been losing his sight since the age of nine due to Stargardt's disease, a form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration, and has 20% remaining vision. He believes the glasses are dangerous for people who ordinarily use partial vision, like himself. When he wore the glasses, he collided with other runners, hit his head on a pole, and fell into a ditch. The complaint states that having a legally blind person compete with blackout glasses "poses substantial danger to not only the competitor but those around them." However, runners who refuse to wear the glasses are disqualified. Scheidies has proposed other alternatives to avoid forcing competitors with visual impairments to wear glasses that he believes would satisfy the concerns about "leveling the playing field" such as reclassifying runners according to their level of sight and adjusting running times, but his proposals have all been rejected.
ITU, the triathlon world governing body for over 140 national groups including USA Triathlon, stated that a new classification system is planned for athletes with disabilities and that the system will be ready by 2013, complete with newly revised competition rules. According to the Vancouver-based company, a rule to eliminate the blackout glasses for 2012 was proposed but could not be implemented without the new rules in place.
Full Story: Philip Rosenbaum, Partially Blind Triathlete Sues over Requirement He Wear Blackout Glasses, Cnn.com, Apr. 30, 2012, available at
5. Diabetic Teen Upset with TSA Screeners at Salt Lake City Airport
In early May, 2012, Savannah Barry, a 16-year-old with type one diabetes was forced to walk through a body scanner with her insulin pump by TSA agents, breaking the pump and putting her health in danger. Barry says that the screeners at Salt Lake City International Airport were rude, dismissive, and responsible for breaking the $10,000 pump she needs at all times. Barry, a Colorado teen who wears an insulin pump 24 hours a day, was returning from a conference in Salt Lake City when she ran into the TSA agents at fault. She showed her pump to the agent, explained that she was a type one diabetic, and that she usually received a pat down, and showed a doctor's note explaining that the pump was too sensitive to go through the body scanner. The agent told Barry to go through the scanner anyway. Barry complied because, she said, "When someone in a position of authority tells you it is -- you think that its right. So, I said, Are you sure I can go through with the pump? It's not going to hurt the pump? And she said no, no you're fine."
The pump stopped working correctly. To make matters worse, the TSA agents did not know what to do about her juice and insulin. Because they did not have machines to scan the juice to make sure it was not explosive, they then had to do a full body pat down and search Barry's bags--which was what she had originally requested. Had the agents granted this request from the outset, the insulin pump would not have been destroyed. Barry is reaching out to the public to warn others about her experience. She believes TSA screeners are not equipped to handle situations like hers and that screeners need more training, and until then people with medical conditions should be prepared.
The TSA responded to an inquiry from ABC news and stated that it is looking into the incident and that it "works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly."
Full Story: Don Hudson, Diabetic Teen Upset with TSA Screeners at Salt Lake City Airport, ABC4News.com, available at
1. Video Games Could Be Beneficial for Children with Cerebral Palsy
A study led by researchers at the University of Toronto has found that, contrary to popular belief, "active" video games may produce beneficial effects for children with cerebral palsy. Because these active games, such as Nintendo Wii Bowling, Tennis, Boxing and Dance Dance Revolution, engage the player's full body, they could be used as a low-impact way of achieving therapeutic goals.
The study stresses that these games should not be used as replacements for muscle strengthening or more vigorous physical activity. However, some of the games still have definite therapeutic benefits. This study was published the week of May 8th in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Full Story: Michelle Diament, Video Games May Benefit Kids with Cerebral Palsy, Disability Scoop, May 8, 2012, available at
2. Michigan Schools Providing Exceptions for Sports Age Limits
On May 31, 2012, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) announced that an amendment was approved to be supplemented to the MHSAA constitution, "enabling students with disabilities to petition to participate in athletics as 19-year-olds". The initiative was taken by Dean Dompierre, who wants his 19-year-old son Eric, who has Down syndrome, to play on the Ishpeming football and basketball teams. The pre-existing rule excluded any student who turned 19 prior to Sept. 1 from school athletics. Now, a waiver can be requested to permit a 19-year-old student to participate. However, the student must comply with the qualifications of having a "medically document disability recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act or Michigan's Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act."
Mr. Dompierre launched a website, letemplay.us, to provide an increased awareness of Eric's story. Ninety-three thousand people signed a petition available on the website to permit schools to vote on the amendment.
Full Story: Mick McCabe, Father of 19-year-old with Down Syndrome: 'I Couldn't Be Happier' Son Will Be Allowed to Play as a Senior, June 1, 2012, available at
C. TECHNOLOGY / TELECOMMUNICATIONS
1. New Software Helps to Prevent Cab Drivers from Stealing from Blind Passengers
Creative Mobile Technologies, a taxi software vendor, has created a new technology that will help to prevent cab drivers from stealing from blind passengers in New York City. The new software includes a computerized voice that announces the fare throughout the trip and step-by-step instructions for paying with a credit card. At the end of the ride, the computerized voice announces the entire bill and specifies the fare, tolls, and other charges. These features will prevent cab drivers from charging blind passengers a higher fare. Former New York State Governor, David Paterson, attended the unveiling of this software and believes that it will help people with visual impairments from getting ripped off by taxi drivers. By the end of May 2012, at least 1,250 cabs will be equipped with this technology. Ultimately, at least half of New York City's fleet, about 6,600 cabs, will have this technology.
Full Story: Jennifer Fermino, Blind-Trust Cabs: Audio Foils Taxi Thieves, New York Post, Apr. 18, 2012, available at
D. HEALTHCARE / BENEFITS
1. Social Security Statements Go Online for First Time
Just last month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) instituted an electronic payment system for Social Security beneficiaries. Now, in a move that continues this push to go completely paperless, the SSA has unveiled a new system that allows all workers over the age of 18 to access their Social Security statements online. Workers registered in the system can view their entire earnings history as well as total Medicare and Social Security taxes paid. The SSA also expects the online system to be an important financial planning tool because it provides estimates for future Social Security benefits, including disability and survivor benefits, and allows users to compare the retirement benefit they can expect to receive at age 62, at full retirement age, and at age 70. The system includes links to other online SSA services, including applications for retirement and disability benefits and Medicare.
To register for the online system, go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement/. Applicants will then have to verify their identities and create user names and passwords. After the application process is finished, SSA will send a paper letter and e-mail confirming that the user has created an account. For added security, SSA provides the option of setting up a text-message alert to notify users each time someone logs into his or her account.
Full Story: Social Security Statements Now Available Online, U.S. News & World Report, May 1, 2012, available at
2. Social Security Administration and Department of Defense Improve Service to Veterans
On April 30, 2012, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it is working together with the Department of Defense (DoD) to improve access to disability benefits for the nation's wounded warriors, service members, veterans, and their families. The nationwide initiative will allow the SSA to make one single electronic request to a centralized DoD site when processing a veteran's Social Security Disability case. This centralized site has access to DoD records in an electronic repository. This new method will greatly shorten the time it takes for the SSA to make a disability decision. Before the partnership between the SSA and the DoD, it would take about five weeks for paper records from individual military treatment facilities to reach the SSA. With the new centralized DoD site, this transaction will now take about 72 hours.
In addition to shortening the length of the claims process, this partnership will also reduce the number of medical exams requested by the SSA when additional tests or medical records are needed. The SSA stated that this program is just the first step toward the long-term goal of a fully automated solution of improving medical information sharing using health information technology and the Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange.
Full Story: Social Security Administration, Press Release, Social Security and Department of Defense Implement New Process to Improve Efficiency for Wounded Warriors Applying for Disability Benefits, Apr. 30, 2012, available at
1. Justice Department Supports Plaintiffs in Sheltered Workshop Case
The Obama Administration has voiced support of a group of adults with developmental disabilities who claim they are capable of working in the community, but they are being relegated to sheltered workshops because of their disabilities. The Justice Department moved to intervene by filing a statement of interest in April in a class action lawsuit pitting 2,300 people with developmental disabilities against the state of Oregon. The suit, filed in federal court in January, claims that the state is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not providing supported employment services that would allow people with disabilities to work in the community.
The Justice Department stated that limiting people with disabilities to sheltered workshops is no different than segregating them in institutions. In the statement of interest, the Justice Department stated that "[t]he unwarranted placement of persons with disabilities in sheltered workshops similarly perpetuates 'unwarranted assumptions' that such persons are 'incapable or unworthy' of working in competitive employment or interacting with non-disabled co-workers or customers" and "[t]hus, the placement of persons with disabilities in segregated sheltered workshops on even a part-time basis, when they could be spending these hours working in the community with appropriate supports and services, is sufficient to state a claim under Title II (of the ADA) and the integration regulation."
Plaintiffs who are named in the suit have experience working in the community at McDonald's and Safeway, among other employers. Without supports, these individuals have no choice but to work at sheltered workshops where they earn less than the state minimum wage of $8.80 per hour. Some involved in the suit say they have been seeking assistance in finding competitive employment for years without any luck. The plaintiffs want Oregon to offer supported employment services to thousands.
Full Story: Department of Justice, Statement of Interest of the United States of America in Support of Plaintiffs Regarding Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Apr. 20, 2012, available at
See Also: Michelle Diament, Feds: Sheltered Workshops May Violate Disabilities Act, Disability Scoop, May 1, 2012, available at
1. ER Star Joins Disability Rights Advocates in Protest Against Medicaid Cuts
The grassroots disability rights group, ADAPT, was joined by Noah Wyle on their recent action in Washington, D.C. From April 21 through April 26, 2012, the group protested, among other things, cuts to Medicaid. Wyle, who played Dr. John Carter on ER and currently stars in the television show Falling Skies, said he joined ADAPT in an effort to stop Medicaid cuts that "would reduce the hours of home health care aides being able to come in and give basic services, which would force people to basically give up their right to live in integrated, portable, accessible housing and put them in an institution." Wyle and two ADAPT members led hundreds of disability rights advocates in a march to the Cannon Building on Capitol Hill. Once the group was inside the rotunda, they began chanting "my Medicaid matters" and the arrests began shortly after. Approximately one hundred ADAPT members were arrested along with Wyle. Video of the protest shows Wyle's wrists bound together with a white zip tie being led away by officers while the crowd cheered. After being arrested, Wyle said that he thinks his children will be very proud of him for fighting for the civil rights of people with disabilities.
Full Story: Michael Weinfeld, Former 'ER' Star Noah Wyle Arrested in DC Protest, Yahoo! News, Apr. 23, 2012, available at
See Also: Noah Wyle Calls Arrest at Protest 'Slightly Surreal,' People.com, Apr. 24, 2012, available at
See Also: Tim Wheat, My Medicaid Matters! ADAPT Action in the Cannon Building 2012, Youtube.com, Apr. 24, 2012, available at
2. USA Today Hosted Expert Panel on Autism without Any Autistic Self-Advocates
On May 2, 2012, USA Today encouraged readers to join a web chat with autism experts including doctors, researchers, and a parent of a person with autism. However, the panel of experts did not include any autistic self-advocates. The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and the American Association of People with Disabilities called on their members to join the web chat to express their opinions about the absence of autistic self-advocates on the panel. The response was overwhelming - many people joined the web chat to express their views. The organizer of the web chat, who did not know that autistic self-advocates existed, welcomed the opinions and expressed interest in learning more. By joining the web chat, autistic self-advocates and supporters opened the conversation and demonstrated that people with disabilities are experts on their disabilities and their lives.
Full Story: Lara Schwartz, Nothing About Us without Us - People with Disabilities Are Experts on Disability, AAPD.com, May 3, 2012, available at
G. EMERGENCY RESPONSE / PREPAREDNESS
1. Forty-six Vietnamese Villages to Receive Emergency Response Training
In April 2012, the Disabled Persons Organization in Quang-Nam province teamed up with Maltese relief agency Malteser International to train Vietnamese citizens in the local disaster risk reduction process. Most recently, the project has increased the focus on the living conditions and needs of people with disabilities. Floods and typhoons pose the largest threat, especially to the population living along the coast and rivers Vu Gia and Thu Bon. Mai Thi Dung, Malteser International project manager in Danang, noted that "people do not know how and where they could evacuate," emphasizing the need for additional training. Local rescue teams will be set up, trained, and equipped to help people with disabilities and their families according to priority evacuation lists. Additionally, new evacuation plans will be implemented and tested in extensive evacuation drills with the villages. The project will take place over the course of two years, with funding provided by the Federal Foreign Office and Malteser International.
Full Story: Malteser International Promotes Self-Responsibility and Participation, PreventionWeb.com, May 9, 2012, available at
Malteser International Information can be found at
1. Turkish Court Prosecutes Duchess of York for Exposing Child Abuse in State Institution
A Turkish court has charged Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, with acquiring footage and violating the privacy of children residing in a Turkish state-run orphanage, after she participated in an undercover documentary exposing abuse and neglect in the facility, which aired on ITV in 2008. The trial, which may result in a sentence of up to 22 ½ years in prison, began in early May 2012 in Ankara without the duchess after Britain refused to extradite her.
The Turkish government argues that the duchess, through her participation in the documentary, has violated the privacy of the children, most of whom have intellectual and physical disabilities. The documentary was created to show that the basic human rights of the children are being violated in the orphanages. In 2005, Disability Rights International (DRI), an advocacy organization, released a report about this issue entitled "Behind Closed Doors: Human Rights Abuses in Psychiatric Facilities, Orphanages and Rehabilitation Centers in Turkey." The report documented starving children who were unable to feed themselves due to their disabilities and were often unfed. According to the report, when children became ill, staff ceased to bathe them and provide them with medical treatment, and they were left in their cribs to die. Children were tied permanently into beds and immobile children spent their whole lives lying in cribs. Children and teenagers of all ages and sexes were hosed down in groups. Babies who scratched or hit had their hands covered by plastic bottles. The children were subjected to skin sutures, shock treatments, and teeth extractions without the benefit of anesthesia. One doctor, and other staff members, told DRI official that children with disabilities "don't feel pain."
Ferguson and ITV documented many of these abuses, and Turkey now seeks to charge her with a severe penalty. DRI has documented similar human rights violations of children in institutions in various countries and has found that governmental authorities who do not allow photography and video documentation on the grounds of "protecting privacy" are actually seeking to protect themselves from exposure. They deny the residents of the institutions fundamental choices about their own lives, and in some cases rights violations are at issue, as in this instance. International human rights law guarantees children with disabilities protection from torture and abuse. Children with disabilities enclosed within the walls of an institution have no choices, no control over their lives, and no chance of being heard. The Duchess of York participated in a documentary to make them visible, and for that the Turkish government seeks to prosecute her.
Full Story: Laurie Ahern, Nations Must Protect Their Children, Not Their Reputations, The Washington Post, May 20, 2012, available at
2. Medvedev Signs Law Ratifying UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
On May 3, 2012, outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed into law a bill ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Convention states that "persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms" including access to public facilities, equal employment opportunities, and participation in political life. 110 countries have joined the Convention since it came into force on May 3, 2008, after being adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2006. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signed the CRPD in September 2008. In March 2012, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the government to modify legislation to prepare to implement the provisions of the CRPD.
Over 13 million people with disabilities reside in Russia, or 9.2 percent of the population, according to Health and Social Development Minister Tatyana Golikova. The ratification of the CRPD will provide these individuals with additional guarantees of protection and provide for the development of social and economic rights, and lead to improvement in legal regulation and social protection for persons with disabilities.
Full Story: Denis Grishkin, Medvedev Signs Law Ratifying UN Convention on Rights of Disabled, The Moscow Times, May 4, 2012, available at
See Also: Dmitry Medvedev Signed Federal Law on Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the European Union, May 03, 2012, available at
1.The Dr. Phil Show Airs Controversial Segment on "Mercy Killings"
On April 13, 2012, Annette Corriveau, a mother of two adults with Sanfilippo Syndrome, went on the Dr. Phil Show to assert her belief that she should have a right to end the lives of her children. Both of Ms. Corriveau's children have been institutionalized since childhood, and Ms. Corriveau admits to visiting them only once every two months. She advocates the use of lethal injection to "end their suffering" and has appeared in a documentary about this subject entitled Taking Mercy.
When Dr. Phil questioned her about Jeffrey and Janet, Ms. Corriveau's children, she expressed some skepticism about her son's ability to communicate, stating, "[t]hey have said for years already that they don't think [Jeffrey] can hear or see--but how do you judge?" After her daughter broke a thumb and the injury went unnoticed because Janet was unable to communicate, Ms. Corriveau admitted that she was unsure if her children were in physical pain. Dr. Phil clearly stated that regardless of how he would prefer to be treated in a similar situation, he could never speak for Jeffrey and Janet and decide to end their lives for them. However, he then stirred controversy by referring to such killings as acts of mercy and asked the audience if they supported Corriveau. Nearly all of them did.
Only one woman spoke out against Corriveau, arguing that disability is no justification for killing no matter how severe. Also a mother of children with disabilities, she stated that she could never kill her child simply because "it's too much trouble [to keep them alive]." This episode has generated wide controversy among the community of disability advocates for its portrayal of "mercy killings" as a possible option for parents of children with severe disabilities.
Full Story: Cassy Fiano, Dr. Phil Show Advocates for "Mercy Killing" of People with Disabilities," Live Action Change, Apr. 14, 2012, available at
See also: Mercy or Murder? DrPhil.com, available at
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