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Ban on Electric Shocks in Bill Moving through Congress
Background

Legislation is moving through Congress that could stop the inhumane use of electric shock devices on people with Autism and other developmental disabilities. 

For decades, people with disabilities have been subjected to aversive shock devices for behavior modification. The only institution that uses such devices is the Massachusetts Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC).

All behavior is communication. The medical community broadly recognizes that interventions that seek to get to the root cause of behavior–such as positive behavior support–avoid the risk of harm from the use of electric stimulation devices, and can achieve durable, long-term results. 

The FDA proposed the rule to ban the device in 2016. The rule was finalized in 2020. However, the rule was overturned on an appeal not because the courts thought the device should be used, but because of a technicality regarding statutory authority. The court argued that the FDA has the authority to ban a device but cannot ban a device for only one use while permitting another use. 

 

Summary

The House of Representatives passed bill H.R. 7667 ("Food and Drug Amendments of 2022"). The Senate HELP Committee passed a companion bill (S. 4348) that included an amendment (offered by Sen. Murphy (D-CT)) that bans the use of electrical stimulation devices. 

The next step is for the full Senate to pass the bill. We need your help to urge the Senate to pass the FDA bill with the ban on electric shock devices.

 

Action Needed

Contact your members of Congress either by phone (202-224-3121) or using the sample letter in the Action Center. Urge them to include a ban on electronic shock devices in the FDA user-fee legislation moving through Congress.

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