A Message from Autistic Self advocacy Network (ASAN)
For decades, the disability community has worked to ban the use of electric shock torture at the Judge Rotenberg Center. The JRC, where most of the “students” are Black and brown, is the only institution in the United States that still uses this practice, something the United Nations classified as torture in 2013. 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.
But the fight is not over. Congress has the power to ban electric shock torture through FDA-related bills. The House just passed its version, and now it’s time for the Senate to act. The FDA Amendments Act (House version) or FDASLA (Senate version) reauthorizes FDA user fees, which are payments from drug and medical device manufacturers to the FDA that help cover the costs of drug and device regulations. The House’s version of this bill contains language banning the use of electric shocks as a method of behavioral control. The Senate still needs to add language banning the use of electric shock. The Judge Rotenberg Center is lobbying to remove the ban from the bill — so we have to work just as hard to keep it in.
It’s been 8 years since the FDA's expert panel ruled that the JRC's electric shock devices are inevitably harmful. 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 the Senate to pass their FDA bill with language that bans electric shock torture included.
Here’s what you can do to reach crucial targets and make your voice heard:
Call your two Senators. Ask them to include a ban on electric shock torture in their version of the bill, the FDA Safety and Landmark Advancements Act.
You can use our script:
My name is [your full name] , and I am from [your city] . I am a constituent of Senator [NAME] . I’m calling to ask Senator [NAME] to help amend the FDASLA Act to add language 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. The Senate has the power to stop electric shock torture by amending the FDASLA Act to include a ban. Can I count on the Senator’s support for an amendment?
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