New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this week signed legislation that removes outdated and demeaning descriptions of people with disabilities from state law and regulation.
The bill eliminates such terms as “mentally retarded” and “feeble-minded,” which are considered offensive by many. Replacing them are terms like “intellectual disability” and “developmental disability.” The new law also promotes what is called “person-first” language, as in “a person with a disability,” rather than “a disabled person.”
“We live in the 21st Century and our laws must reflect that distinction,” said Governor Christie. “Those with intellectual disabilities are an important part of the fabric of New Jersey. Using antiquated, degrading terms to describe individuals with disabilities is an affront to the integrity of the person and their family, and below our common decency as a people. I am proud to move the language of New Jersey’s laws and regulations beyond such terminology.”