Archive for July, 2010
From the Melbourne, Australia, Herald Sun:
Health Department officials in the Australian state of Victoria report that the number of women who terminated their pregnancies after receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome almost tripled in the decade ending in 2006.
Government figures showed 146 abortions for Down syndrome in 2006, including five late term abortions, compared with 54 in 1995.
They also show more than twice as many babies with Down syndrome were aborted than were born with the condition — in 2006 146 were terminated and 62 were born.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists attributed the increase to more advanced screening.
Two Victorian couples are suing doctors for failing to diagnose Down Syndrome in their unborn babies, denying them the chance to terminate the pregnancies.
The couples are claiming unspecified damages for economic loss, continuing costs of care of the children, and “psychiatric injury”.
Both say they would have aborted their pregnancies had they been told their children would be born with Down Syndrome.
From USA Today:
A survey commissioned by the Kessler Foundation/National Organization on Disabilities finds that the ADA has not made meaningful progress in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.
The survey shows that more must be done to help people with disabilities get ahead, said Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability.
“While education has improved considerably, joblessness has not. We as a nation must figure this out,” she said.
Among the survey’s key findings:
â€¢ People with disabilities still lag in key areas such as employment, access to health care and social interactions;
â€¢ 21% of disabled working-age Americans had a job in the past year, versus 59% for those without disabilities;
â€¢ 19% of people with disabilities said they did not get the medical care they needed in the past year, with lack of insurance coverage cited as the top reason;
â€¢ 48% of people with disabilities eat out at a restaurant twice a month, compared to 75% of those without disabilities; and
â€¢ 34% of disabled people say inadequate transportation is a problem, compared to 16% of those without disabilities, a gap that has widened 5 percentage points since 1986.
Related post here.
- What’s changed in 20 years since ADA passage — Joseph Shapiro and Tony Cox on NPR’s Talk of the Nation
- Looking back on 20 years of disability rights — By Ben Mattlin on National Public Radio. An excerpt:
… When I was 27, the ADA became law. It didn’t get me a job. But it addressed the differences between essential and nonessential job tasks … it provided not just legal recourse, but validation and hope.
Now, the ADA’s impact is everywhere: wheelchair lifts on city buses, signs in Braille, sign-language interpreters. Many young disabled people are growing up with a marvelous sense of belonging, entitlement and pride I never had.
Yes, there is still a long way to go. Yet in redefining the terms of disability, the ADA made us impossible to ignore. So now people should understand we’re just part of the human landscape, and we’re here to stay.
- Did the Americans with Disabilities Act work? Ross Douthat’s blog, New York Times
- Americans with Disabilities Act turns 20: ‘A reminder that we’re not done, and there’s still so much to do’ — Grand Rapids [MI] Press
- 20 years after Disabilities Act, why are we still struggling? By Lisa A. Goldstein in USA Today
- Much still needs to be done for Americans with disabilities — Letter by Shawn E. Jeffers in the Chicago Tribune
- Revealing culture at the Smithsonian: Very Special Arts (VSA) celebrates 20th anniversary of the ADA — Max Eternity in the Hufffington Post
- Equality not yet reality, disabled in area say — Toledo [Ohio] Blade
- How the disabilities act has influenced architecture — National Public Radio
- Amazing success fueled by act of discrimination– CNN
- Americans with Disabilities Act hits 20 — Detroit Free Press
A report released this week by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found that people with targeted disabilities still comprise less than one percent (0.88 percent) of the total federal work force. Targeted disabilities include deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, mental retardation, mental illness, and distortion of the limb and/or spine.
According to the report, the percentage of federal employees with targeted disabilities held steady in fiscal 2009 for the first time since 1995, halting a 13-year decline.
“As the largest employer in the nation, the federal government should lead the way in creating a diverse and just workplace,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien. “Government employers need to continue to recruit and promote employees who represent the tapestry of America. They must also improve the efficiency of the complaint process so that justice delayed is not justice denied. We look forward to assisting the federal government to become an exemplary employer.”
An executive order signed by the president this week ordered federal agencies to hire 100,000 more employees with disabilities over the next five years, and mandated that hiring managers and human resource staff members be trained on how to employ people with disabilities.
Marking the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Obama today signed an executive order to increase government hiring of people with disabilities.
“Not dependence but independence: That’s what the ADA was all about,” Obama said at a White House reception attended by several hundred guests, including Cabinet members, legislators and activists for the disabled.
A recent government report found that fewer than one percent of federal workers have targeted disabilities including deafness, blindness, missing limbs, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorders, mental retardation, mental illness and limb or spine distortions, as compared with one in five members of the general population.
Earlier posts here.
Remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder
Q&A with Kareem Dale, Obama’s top adviser on disability issues, in the Washington Post.
Q&A with Andy Imparato, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, in the Washington Post.
Reporting at MSNBC, Eve Tahmincioglu says Americans with disabilities still face overwhelming barriers to employment two decades after the enactment of the ADA. A recent Harris Survey of working-aged people with disabilities found that only 21 percent were employed either full or part-time, compared with 59 percent of people without disabilities.
The study, commissioned by the National Organization on Disability and the Kessler Foundation, said 73 percent of those without jobs cited their disability as the reason they were unemployed. The survey also found that people with disabilities are twice as likely as people without disabilities to have annual household incomes of $15,000 or less.
“There have been great improvements because of the ADA, but discrimination in the workplace is still at an unacceptable level,” said Rodger DeRose, CEO of the Kessler Foundation.
… Without job opportunities, DeRose said, all the accessibility advances for disabled folks — such as ramps and parking spots — that resulted thanks to the Act, won’t truly help the disabled integrate fully into society, both socially and economically.