ASAN Commends FDA’s Move to Appeal Judge Rotenberg Center Ruling

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ASAN is pleased that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has filed an appeal to a court ruling that would enable the Judge Rotenberg Center to continue using skin shocks on disabled people. 

In 2020, the FDA banned the use of skin shock devices on people with disabilities – a practice that the United Nations has recognized as torture. The ban was supported by decades of advocacy and extensive research. The Judge Rotenberg Center sued in order to keep using the devices. The case went before three judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Two out of those three judges sided with the Judge Rotenberg Center, striking down the ban. The Court ruled that the FDA could not selectively ban skin shock devices based on how they are used. By striking down the ban, the DC Circuit paved the way for the Judge Rotenberg Center to continue subjecting disabled people to painful electric shocks on a daily basis, potentially undoing all the progress that the FDA had made.

Now, the FDA is asking that the case be heard by all of the eleven judges on the DC Circuit. This is called a rehearing en banc. If most of those judges side with the FDA, the ban can go back in place. ASAN supports the FDA’s choice to seek review in this case. It is critical that the full court move swiftly to reinstate the ban – not only to prevent further torture, but also to ensure that the FDA can take action on other dangerous medical devices.

Our community has fought long and hard to end the Judge Rotenberg Center’s torture of disabled people. ASAN will continue to collaborate with state and federal policymakers to end all forms of abuse against disabled people. We will not rest until no disabled person is subjected to torture in the name of “treatment”. 

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