At 3:43 Pacific Time, Commissioner Rebekah Zinn confirmed that after receiving “a large number of responses,” the Guardianship Forms Subcommittee “will not create those forms” which would have made it easier and quicker to forcibly sterilize a person under guardianship in a legal way.
The fight against these dangerous forms included individuals in Washington’s disability justice community, local disability rights groups such as Disability Rights Washington, Self Advocates in Leadership, and People First of Washington; national disability rights organizations such as Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF); and even non-disability related groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Gender Justice League!
The text of the email in full:
February 14, 2018
Dear Interested Groups,
A few months ago, I asked for opinions about whether the Guardianship Forms Subcommittee should create legal forms on the topic of sterilization of persons subject to guardianship. The subcommittee will not create those forms.
The sincere hope of the subcommittee has always been, and remains, to make sure that the rights of disabled people are upheld. The practice of forced sterilization is shocking and terrible. That is why the law requires the strongest protections for people subject to guardianship – including appointing an attorney for them, having a trial, and never allowing these procedures without a court order.
I have received a large number of responses, and I appreciate each and every one of them. Many of you told me your stories, your fears, and your opinions. I received helpful information about better ways to educate doctors and lawyers. Many of you thought that forms would make it easier to allow these procedures on disabled people. That would be an unacceptable result.
This is an important subject and one that many people care about passionately. Thank you for participating. You were heard.
Commissioner Rebekah Zinn
Washington State Pattern Forms Committee Chair
Thank you to everyone who responded to call to #StopEugenics. When we fight, we win!