The ADA promised to revolutionize the way we view the law's protection and empowerment of persons with disabilities. No longer were we supposed to see persons with disabilities through the lens of charity, sympathy, or benign discretion. Now we were supposed to see persons with disabilities through the lens of civil rights law. Under civil rights law persons with disabilities should not have to not ask for societal favors. They should be able to demand an equal place in a society that has long been structured—physically and sociologically—by and for the able-bodied.
This promise and vision, however, have been sharply curtailed by the Supreme Court. It is no longer realistic to believe that persons with disabilities will receive the same kind of civil rights protection as, say, African Americans and women. For that to happen, Congress will have to amend the ADA to express the vision of true inclusion and protection against discrimination for all Americans with a disability.
LAWRENCE O. GOSTIN (1 995) REVISED BY AUTHOR
SEE ALSO: Access to Healthcare; Genetic Discrimination; Human Rights; Informed Consent; Law and Bioethics; Medicaid; Patients' Rights; Right to Die; Utilitarianism and Bioethics; and other Disability subentries
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