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Thursday, 8 August 2013

In the news: Justice for Jenny

Big ideas, well stated, in Dave Hingsburger's commentary on a guardianship case in the US this week that determined that a woman with Down syndrome was quite capable of choosing where she lived, and with whom. A link to a post by the American Civil Liberties Union follows:
Dave Hingsburger, Rolling Around in My Head, 13th August 2013
... Jenny and her single, strong, voice made it clear that she would be heard. And she was. She won her freedom, she won her choice.

And we already know that freedom is statistically better than captivity.

But think about this: Why is this battle being fought over and over and over again? What is it about the freedom of people with disabilities that is so frightening that battle after battle after battle has to be fought? Why does the idea that people with disabilities are citizens with rights upset us all so very much? ... read Dave Hingsburger's whole post here.

Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil LibertiesSusan Mizner, American Civil Liberties Union, 5th August 2013
... Jenny spoke for many other people with disabilities when she said clearly in her trial: "I don't need guardianship. I don't want it."

On Friday a judge in Virginia denied guardianship to the parents of Jenny Hatch. Hatch will instead be able to live with her friends, couple Kelly Morris and Jim Talbert, as she had requested. This is a victory, but it should never have come to this
... read the full ACLU post here

Woman with Down syndrome prevails over parents in guardianship case
Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, 2ndAugust , 2013
In a victory for the rights of adults with disabilities, a judge declared Friday that a 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome can live the life she wants, rejecting a guardianship request from her parents that would have allowed them to keep her in a group home against her will.

The ruling thrilled Jenny Hatch and her supporters, who included some of the country’s most prominent disability advocates.

“Oh my God,” Hatch said over and over again, shedding tears. “I’m so happy to go home today. I deserve it. It’s over. My God, it’s over.”
... read the full Washington Post report here

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