Edit: This email was not sent to me, but was an email sent to a family member of mine who signed up for email alerts from Senator Bob Menendez. I retracted this person’s name in the email for their privacy.
United States Senator, Bob Menendez (D) who was involved in writing the legislation for the reauthorization of the Autism CARES Act of 2019, sent out an email to his Democrat supporters celebrating the passage of the Autism CARES Act with ableist rhetoric, saying that autism is “on the rise,” calling autistic people, “touched by autism,” and saying that, “Providing the research necessary to one day discover the cause and the cure would be a NO Brainer.”
This goes to show that ableism is not a political issue, but a societal and cultural issue. Politicians who are either misinformed about autism or the needs of the autistic community, or who clearly do not want to listen to us, believe that autism is something that is an “epidemic,” or something that should be “treated” or “cured,” or “combated.”
I am disappointed in you, Bob Menendez for your ableist rhetoric about autistic people and for framing the passage of Autism CARES as beneficial for autistic people, it’s not. Cure and treatment research does not help us. We need acceptance and we need involvement. We need lawmakers and politicians, people representing us in Congress, to do better and check their ableism. #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs#StopCombatingUs
Transcript of the email:
“Today is a good day to celebrate after my Autism CARES Act was signed into law, continuing the federal government’s commitment to the scores of Americans with autism spectrum disorders and their families. This is a huge win!
My legislation unlocks nearly $2 billion in federal funding for groundbreaking research and the development of new, innovative treatments and supports to ensure individuals with ASD achieve their full, God-given potential. And building upon the 2014 Autism CARES law, I wrote, the federal response will now address the individual’s needs well into adulthood and throughout their life.
The rates of autism are on the rise. Now, one in every 34 children in New Jersey lives with ASD — the highest rate in the nation. It’s hard to find anyone who isn’t personally or knows someone touched by autism.
I am so proud to have worked closely with the autism community, families and advocates to craft this vitally important legislation. You are the real heroes. And I can’t thank enough all of you who signed our petition demanding that the Trump administration take action on ASD care and research. The voices of everyday Americans play a critical role in the passing of legislation and without you, we may not have been able to deliver this critical funding.
You would think helping individuals with ASD, supporting their families, and providing the research necessary to one-day discover the cause and the cure would be a NO Brainer. But, sadly, this was no easy lift as Senate Republicans continued for months to block Autism CARES from being passed. It is because of your patience and perseverance that we prevailed.
Thank you to everyone who helped us make this a reality.
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