Ron is a scholar for the worldwide Mouth and Foot Painter Association, United States Chapter.
Not Dead Yet is a national organization of people with disabilities formed in response to the movement to permit physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. Not Dead Yet’s mission is to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities by advocating against legalization of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia and to bring a disability-rights perspective and awareness of the efforts of discrimination to the legal and sociological debate surrounding these practices. Not Dead Yet has worked to educate, support, coordinate and lead the disability community’s efforts to stop the “right to die” from becoming a duty to die or a right to kill.
Founded in 1948, the National Spinal Cord Injury Association(“NSCIA”) is the largest organization in the United States dedicated to improving the quality of life of persons with spinal cord injury and disease. The NSCIA’s mission is “to enable people with spinal cord injuries to make choices and take actions to achieve their highest level of independence and personal fulfillment.” Spinal cord injury is regarded by some as one of the most debilitating and tragic human conditions and has been cited as the type of impairment warranting a desire to hasten death. The NSCIA believes that expediting one’s death because they have a spinal cord injury is immoral and unwise, both for society at large and members of the disability community in particular. Instead, the more laudable goal is to improve health care services treat and manage pain more aggressively, and provide individuals with resources and support so that death is never regarded as necessary or desirable. The NSCIA promotes all reasonable efforts to improve the quality of life for all persons regardless of their health and abilities and correspondingly opposes efforts to promote to secure the “right” to die or kill.
ADAPT is a national organization, most of whose members have severe disabilities and many of whom have been institutionalized in nursing facilities and other public institutions solely because they have disabilities. ADAPT’s national mission is to establish the civil rights of all individuals to choose to live in their homes and communities, rather than be forced into nursing homes and other institutional settings. ADAPT has a long history and record of enforcing the civil rights of people with disabilities and was one of the key organizations in the political and legislative process that resulted in the passage in 1990 of the American with Disabilities Act.
The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) is the oldest cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities. Founded in 1982, NCIL represents over 700 organizations and individuals with disabilities, along with other organizations that advocate for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities throughout the United States. The independent living philosophy holds that individuals with disabilities have the right to live with dignity and appropriate supports in their own homes, to participate in their communities, and to control and make decisions about their lives, regardless of the degree of disability.
The Center for Self-Determination is a national organization comprised of individuals with disabilities, family members and professionals committed to the principles of self-determination: freedom to choose where and with whom one wants to live, as well as what one will do with one’s life; authority and control over the dollars necessary for long term supports; designing and providing individual, community-based supports for people with disabilities; and responsibility for both the wise use of public dollars and for contributing to one’s community. The Center and its members view physician-assisted suicide as rooted in the paternalistic and debilitating attitudes of people with disabilities. The practice is thus fundamentally counter to the Center’s mission and philosophy.
The Center on Human Policy is an interdisciplinary disability research and policy institute and Syracuse University. Established in 1971, the Center’s work focuses on people with cognitive disabilities. The Center’s research has included studies of institutions, schools, and community services, the history of the treatment of people with disabilities in America, disability law and policy, images of disability in the media and popular culture, and the politics and ethics of various treatments options. The Center is aware of the historical pattern of discrimination against people with disabilities in Western societies. Adults and children with disabilities, and especially those with cognitive disabilities, have been subjected to segregation, school exclusion, involuntary sterilization, restrictions on marriage, denial of medical care, unethical medical experimentation, and, in extreme cases, euthanasia.
The Disability Rights Center (DRC), based in Washington, D.C, is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1978. Its mission is to enable people with disabilities to improve the quality of their lives, determine their own lifestyles, participate in all aspects of society, secure their human and civil rights, meet their responsibilities as citizens and provide a mechanism for consumer control and policy direction of the systems that impact their lives.