Inclusion Daily Express
Sunday, November 12, 2006
  MH Tsar Proves Advocates' Point
Inclusion Daily Express

Okay, I swear I'm not making this up:

When told that a review of British health service data showed at least 300 sexual assaults have taken place against women in psychiatric wards over the past 3 years, mental health groups responded that the actual number is probably much higher. They said that victims of such crimes often decide not report them because they do not trust that their allegations will be taken serious.

As if to prove that very point, the government's national mental health tsar, Louis Appleby, responded that -- while he is determined to address the sexual safety of women in mental health wards -- "In my opinion, there is significant doubt in the majority of cases as to whether any incident occurred."

What? Did he or did he not just prove their point?

Hey, I'll give Appleby the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was just tongue-tied after seeing the enormity of the problem that he didn't know what to say.

Dave Reynolds, Editor
Inclusion Daily Express
Monday, November 06, 2006
  Shame On Rush
Inclusion Daily Express

While Inclusion Daily Express does not usually cover politics or finding "cures" to disabilities, a story involving both of those has taken a very public detour right into our disability rights consciousness.

Last Monday, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh used the airwaves to condemn Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson's disease, for appearing on television commercials supporting candidates who favor stem cell research.

This is an important issue for the television and movie actor, who, like the late actor Christopher Reeve, lobbied for federal funding for such research that is believed to hold promise for treating or preventing conditions associated with Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and others.

What deserves attention, here, is how Limbaugh, who opposes stem cell research, characterized Fox's appearance on the ads: "He was either acting or off his medication . . . He is using his illness as a tactic to secure the election of another Democratic senator."

Fox later said that the irony is that he was too medicated; that the medication he uses to treat Parkinson's can actually increase the shaking and swaying seen on the ads.

Another irony is that Fox also supports Republican Senator Arlen Specter, from Pennsylvania, and other Republicans that support stem cell research.

Still a third irony is that Limbaugh is accusing Fox of using his disability for personal gain. This from a man who made a big deal out of receiving a cochlear implant in 2003 after losing his hearing as a result of Auto-Immune Inner Ear Disease, and publicly stated three years ago that he was seeking treatment for addiction to pain killing medication that was initially prescribed to treat his pain after spinal surgery.

While I won't climb onto the "research for a cure" bandwagon, I respect Fox's right to have his cause. I also respect how Fox, whose autobiography is titled "Lucky Man", has refused to portray himself and others with Parkinson's disease as "victims".

Shame on you, Rush.

If you truly abhor the exploitation of disabilities, why not go and pick on someone else, like, say, Jerry Lewis?

Limbaugh, Not Fox, Has His Priorities Wrong by Lennard Davis (National Public Radio)

Dave Reynolds, Editor
Friday, November 03, 2006
  'Assisted Suicide', By Any Other Name . . .
Inclusion Daily Express

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it most likely is a duck.

Likewise, if it looks like assisted suicide and sounds like assisted suicide, it most likely is assisted suicide.

Unless if you are trying to change public opinion about assisted suicide, or are worried about lawsuits from assisted suicide campaigners.

According to a brief story published in the news section of the American Medical Association's website, the Oregon Department of Human Services has bowed to pressure from the group Compassion & Choices -- formerly the Hemlock Society -- and decided to drop the term "physician-assisted suicide" when describing people who use the state's Death with Dignity Act. Instead, DHS will refer to people who use the law to die as, well, "persons who use the Oregon Death With Dignity Act."

Officials said the language would help the agency stay neutral about the issue.

The announcement came after Compassion & Choices brought their lawyers in to meet with agency officials to argue that the word "suicide" violates the state's law.

Apparently, the law states "actions taken in accordance with [the statute] shall not, for any purpose, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing or homicide, under the law."

More importantly for assisted suicide crusaders, however, is the fact that polls show people are more likely to approve legalizing the practice when the word "suicide" is not used in describing it. The group no doubt hopes the move to less provocative language will help them in their efforts to legalize assisted suicide in other states.

Since Oregon's law was passed in 1997, assisted suicide supporters have been unsuccessful in multiple campaigns to legalize the practice in other states, including California and Hawaii.

Many disability rights advocacy groups, led by Not Dead Yet, have long opposed efforts to make assisted suicide legal. They have argued, among other things, that such laws would increase the vulnerability of people with disabilities, who are already marginalized by society and many medical professionals, particularly at a time when health care costs are so high.

Dave Reynolds, Editor
Inclusion Daily Express
Commentary on disability rights issues and stories posted on Inclusion Daily Express, the international disability rights news service found at

Location: Spokane, Washington, United States
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