April is Autism Acceptance Month—and acceptance is an action. The autistic community is still working toward acceptance and inclusion, but we know that when we act together, we are a powerful force for change. This April, we’re taking action to protect people with disabilities who are being tortured with electric shock devices at the Judge Rotenberg Center. The FDA has the power to end the use of these devices—but we need your help to convince them to do it.
The Judge Rotenberg Center uses an electric shock device called a Gradual Electronic Decelerator (GED) on some of the people who are held there. These devices can burn skin, and are damaging to the physical and mental health of people they are used on. This is not treatment—this is torture.
The disability community has been working for years to stop this abuse, and we’re so close to ending it for good. In April of 2014, the FDA held a hearing on the harmful effects of the GED. In 2016, they wrote a regulation that would ban the GED—but they never released it.Until the regulation is released, the torture will continue. The FDA can stop this, and we need to hold them accountable until they do.
- Call the office of FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb at (301) 796-5000, and ask the FDA to release the regulation. You can use this script:
My name is [NAME] and I am from [City, State]. I’m calling to ask Commissioner Gottlieb to ban the GED shock devices used at the Judge Rotenberg Center. The FDA has had a final rule to ban these devices ready since 2016, but the Commissioner still hasn’t released it. Every day, disabled people are being tortured with these devices. Commissioner Gottlieb needs to immediately release the rule banning the GED. We’ve waited long enough.
- We’re organizing two call-in days when the disability community can speak out together. Just like in the past, we’ll also be sharing tips, scripts, and other ways to act if your disability makes calling difficult. The first call-in is THIS FRIDAY, April 13th, and a second will be happening on April 24th.
- Email the FDA at dice@FDA.hhs.gov. You can use the same script you did while calling.
- Sign the petition to have the FDA release the regulation against the use of GED.
- Spread the word on social media using the hashtag #stoptheshock. Every time you use the hashtag, encourage folks to visit our page and take action. Our JRC campaign page gives you sample tweets and social media posts you can use.
Autism acceptance and disability rights aren’t just neat ideas—they demand action, and so do we. It’s beyond time for the FDA to act.