March 4, 2015
New Model Bill on Medical Supported Decision Making Agreements
New model legislation on medical supported decision making agreements is now available. The new model bill has the support of the Disability and Abuse Project and the Disability and Guardianship Project of Spectrum Institute since it incorporates the principles in our "Framework for Supported Decision Making Legislation." The concerns we raised to the original model bill do not apply to the revised model bill. We are very grateful to attorney Jonathan Martinis, director of the National Resource Center for Supported Decision Making, and his partners, for amending the model bill to address our concerns. We believe that the new bill is something that should be used by advocates to promote state legislation that advances the rights of people with disabilities in medical settings, whether that would be in doctor's offices, clinics, and hospitals or in their interactions with other medical professionals.
January 2, 2015
Special Report on Supported Decision Making
Over the past several months, the Disability and Abuse Project has published several commentaries about supported decision making, abbreviated SDM. We are concerned that many advocates for disability rights appear to be embracing SDM as a private-sector substitute for adult guardianships. Some SDM activists want to abolish all guardianship laws.
They also want to remove from all parts of the legal system any notion that some people may lack legal capacity to make some decisions due to intellectual, developmental, or cognitive disabilities. The American legal system is based on a factual, medical, and legal premise that some people lack capacity to make some decisions, at least some of the time, due to such disabilities. Some SDM proponents want a radical revolution in American law, one that would cause what they call a "paradigm shift" replacing current incapacity laws with a conclusive presumption that, with sufficient support, every person has the capacity to make every decision all the time.
We believe that such a paradigm shift is not warranted and in fact could be quite dangerous to adults who are vulnerable due to cognitive and communication disabilities. We believe that abolishing adult guardianship laws increases the risk of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as financial exploitation. We oppose calls to repeal adult guardianship laws. We believe that adult guardianship systems in each state should be thoroughly examined and that comprehensive reforms should be instituted and implemented without delay.
We have gathered a variety of materials that we previously published on this subject and are releasing them today in a single report. Click here to read or down load a copy of the report, titled, 'Supported Decision Making: A Critical Analysis."