Governments judge and control disabled bodies and minds daily. Following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned Roe v. Wade, it is easier for the government to judge and control disabled people than it has been at any other time in the last 49 years. The argument that we are entitled to the same right to privacy, the same right to bodily autonomy, the same Liberty “right to be let alone” as anyone else without a disability, is at the center of all our advocacy. And that argument means a lot less today.
We mourn the substantial loss of privacy, bodily autonomy, and liberty and we fear the next, currently unthinkable, attack on our privacy, bodily autonomy, and liberty that is inevitably going to come. We know the harm of the Court’s decision will be borne most by women, Black, Indigenous people of color, and people who are LGBTQI+. Our health care systems have always treated people with one or more of these identities worse. Usually, that poor treatment is hidden in invisible access barriers like location, cost, and policies guiding delivery of health services and access to healthy environments. Now, explicitly limiting access to healthcare for entire classes of people is endorsed as a legitimate state action and this will be most harmful to people who are already denied good healthcare.
We are grateful that Washington State has been preparing for this moment and has some of the strongest laws reinforcing the right to abortion in the entire country. This gives us a moment to grieve, reflect, and prepare that many other individuals do not have.
We will move forward. We will get back in there and fight. We will fight for even stronger laws at home and for our neighbors. We will fight to protect and advocate for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities, because that is what we have always done and always will do. To be clear, disability issues are the issues of disabled people with uteruses, disabled people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, disabled people who are transgender, intersex, or two spirit, disabled people who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color, and all other disabled people who have had enough of the government judging and controlling their bodies and minds. Disabled people deserve to live their lives without the government shoving their way into their doctors’ exam rooms, bedrooms, and daily activities.
Now is the time to plan our next steps. If you have ideas about what Disability Rights Washington should focus its advocacy on in the next year, please fill out this quick survey and tell our Board of Directors what we should prioritize.
Darya Farivar, Public Policy Director
David Carlson, Advocacy Director
On Behalf of Disability Rights Washington