Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

The guardianship system in this country raises serious concerns. That’s why the guardianship trial of Jenny Hatch, a vibrant and active 29-year-old in a battle over who controls her life, struck such a chord. Jenny spoke for many other people with disabilities when she said clearly in her trial: “I don’t need guardianship. I don’t want it.”

On Friday a judge in Virginia denied guardianship to the parents of Jenny Hatch. Hatch will instead be able to live with her friends, couple Kelly Morris and Jim Talbert, as she had requested. This is a victory, but it should never have come to this.

If anyone else had been placed in an isolated location, against her will, with her cell phone and computer taken away, and not allowed to leave the building without permission, as Hatch was, she would either be able to lodge a charge of kidnapping, or be a prisoner convicted of a crime.

But, because Hatch is a person with a disability – and only because of that – it is completely legal, even though she has done nothing wrong.

Guardianship can, and often does, deprive a person of the ability to choose where she lives, who she sees, when she gets up in the morning, what she eats for breakfast, whether and where she works and whether she is allowed the right to vote.

Guardianship is typically created under two circumstances:

  • When adults – often seniors – develop a disability, especially one that affects the ability to manage finances or make complex decisions, their spouse or child is often encouraged to become their guardian.
  • And, when a child with developmental disabilities reaches 18, her parents are often encouraged to become the child’s guardian – ostensibly so that they can continue to participate in medical and educational decisions for the child.

In both circumstances, other less restrictive options are available.

Full Article and Source:
Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

See Also:
Couple wins custody of Jenny Hatch

Jenny Hatch’s courtroom battle continues

Jenny Hatch shouldn’t be treated as a prisoner

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3 Responses to “Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties”

  1. Norma Says:

    I'm so glad for Jenny Hatch and I hope her struggle and eventual win helps others.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Exactly!!!

  3. StandUp Says:

    What a smile Jenny has. She's made history and should be so proud of herself!

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