From the BBC, Britain, UK (March 19) - A new law widening the definition of hate crimes to include attacks on gay or disabled people has been passed in principle. MSPs voted unanimously in favour of making them aggravated offences that can be more severely punished.
From the AP/Seattle Times (March 19) - North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue has proposed spending $250,000 from her budget to set up a foundation aimed at providing justice and compensation for the victims of the state’s eugenic sterilization program. North Carolina was one of more than two dozen states that ran programs of forced eugenic sterilization. The programs targeted women who were considered — sometimes inaccurately — to be mentally deficient or genetically inferior. From 1929 until 1974, more than 7,600 people were forcibly sterilized under North Carolina’s program. (h/t Patricia E Bauer)
From AP/Seattle Times and the Chicago Tribune (March 18) - Kurt Perry, 26, a Chicago man diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), whose February 26 assisted suicide plans were put on hold after the Final Exit Network arrests last month, says he has found a new reason to live: defending the right-to-die movement. CMT is described as a painful inherited neurological disorder that weakens his limbs and breathing. According to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association, the condition usually isn’t life-threatening.
From National Public Radio: The arrests over the alleged “human cockfights” at the Corpus Christi State School are only the latest in a long history of abuse in Texas institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. Just last Friday, a 53-year-old woman died of a head injury after being hit by another resident in a hallway collision at a facility in Denton. State officials say it was an accident. A county coroner ruled it a homicide. The Justice Department found there had been 450 cases of abuse over just the previous year. And in four years, more than 800 state employees had been suspended or fired.
From The Daily Mail in the UK (March 17) - British mother, Lucy Baxter, is appealing for help in finding a sexual partner for her 21-year-old son, Otto, who has Down sydnrome. She says she is prepared to pay for a prostitute for Otto.
From the [Canadian] National Post and CBC (March 16) - A Quebec couple is suing Montreal Children’s Hospital for $3.5 million for putting their daughter back on life support without their permission. According to the couple's lawyer, had withdrawn life supports from their infant daughter at the recommendation of doctors. He said the hospital’s ethics committee overruled their decision and resumed her feeding without consulting them. The little girl is described as “severely disabled.” (See also this post by Thaddeus Mason Pope over at Medical Futility)
From The AP, Coos BAY, Oregon (March 15) - A Coos County teenager with severe autism has been charged with murder in connection with the death of a 59-year-old woman who lived with his father.