Disability Rights Leadership Institute on Bioethics

Led by Not Dead Yet, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and several other national disability organizations, leaders in disability rights and bioethics met April 24-25 to discuss the growing threats to people with disabilities of withholding of medical treatment on the basis of disability; assisted suicide laws; and ethical issues of genetic and reproductive technologies. Concerns are growing both within the United States and internationally regarding the threats to people with disabilities inherent in possible health care rationing, assumptions by others about what makes life worth living, and laws and policies that allow physicians to withhold life-sustaining treatment over the expressed objection of the individual or their surrogate. The Arc participated in the conference, which ended with plans for working together further to address the issues raised by the speakers and participants.