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Sex, Dementia, and Informed Consent:

Slate has a very interesting article on the subject, and last year had another, focused more specifically on the legal issues. The theory that people with sufficient mental disabilities lack the capacity to consent, and therefore sex with them should be illegal, is sensible and probably usually right. But the consequence, when the disability is irreversible, is that they are doomed to live the rest of their lives without sex (or with sex that makes their partners criminals, and makes those who facilitate the sex -- for instance, relatives or nursing home operators -- into criminals as well).

My highly tentative sense is that giving guardians the right to consent on the person's behalf is probably a reasonable approach. We rightly don't generally let parents do this for children, partly because for children we're telling them just to wait a few years, not to remain abstinent for the rest of their lives, and partly because we fear that allowing such parental consent will lead to a considerable number of parents prostituting their children (a tiny fraction, I'm sure, but a considerable number). But these reasons don't apply to the elderly permanently disabled, and at least the first reason doesn't apply to the younger adult permanently disabled. (Pregnancy risks are also not a problem for the elderly permanently disabled.)

In any case, though, it strikes me as an interesting and important subject, and I'm glad Slate is covering it.

Bill Poser (mail) (www):
I wonder to what extent another factor doesn't also play a role, namely eugenics: even people who would shy away from sterilization often seem to think that it isn't a good idea to let congenitally mentally disabled people marry and reproduce. Indeed, this came up with the character Benny in the pre-internet counterpart of the Volokh Conspiracy, L.A. Law.:)
6.11.2008 1:30pm
HT4:
Why would involuntary prostitution be any less of a concern with respect to the permanently disabled than it is with children?
6.11.2008 1:48pm
L.A. Brave:
HT4:
Probably significantly less of a market for sex with 80 year olds compared to sex with 14 year olds.
6.11.2008 1:51pm
HT4:
L.A. Brave -- I was talking about the 20 year olds. I don't see why the law should be different for a 20 year old incompetent person verses a similarly disabled 80 year old. While I agree that there may be limited interest in the elder group, I suspect there would be a thriving market for the younger.
6.11.2008 2:13pm
AndrewK (mail):
I would think we don't let parents consent for their children because (1) the children themselves have been legally deemed incapable of consent, and (2) no one can give the relevant consent for sex but the individuals involved.

I think the only way around this would be for consent agreements written while the adult still CAN consent: I think such consent can't be read into guardianship itself. I really don't see a way around point (2) (which seems to be the one your post implicitly denies) without admitting a guardian to provide consent for a functioning adult who subsequently suffers brain damage and is reduced to the mental capacity of a six-year-old. This seems obviously wrong, but is a logical conclusion of providing guardians the ability to consent in this area.
6.11.2008 2:16pm
Katl L (mail):
venezuelan penal code 1926 ,partially reformed in 1959,1964, 2000, 2002 ,based on the italian code (1889),says
El que por medio de violencias o amenazas haya constreñido a alguna persona, del uno o del otro sexo, a un acto carnal, será castigado con presidio de cinco a diez años.


La misma pena se le aplicará al individuo que tenga un acto carnal con persona de uno u otro sexo, que en el momento del delito:

que no estuviere en capacidad de resistir por causa de enfermedad física o mental; por otro motivo independiente de la voluntad del culpable o por consecuencia del empleo de medios fraudulentos o sustancias narcóticas o excitantes de que este se haya valido.
Who have sex with another person, male or female,will be punished as rapist if the person is unable to resist because of mental or physical disease .. or fraud or drug
6.11.2008 2:22pm
rbj:
I worked for a time with developmentally disabled children in a residential setting. "Children" who ranged in age from about 10 to 21+ (tough finding group homes for them). The girls were on the pill, because even though they were watched 24/7 it's always possible to sneak off.
So what if the 18+ y.o. girl (or whatever the age of consent is) wants to engage in sex with another student? Or if it's a guy who wants to be with another guy? The policy was "no sex" but weren't we denying them a basic part of human existence (not to mention a much later discovered constitutional right under Lawrence?

Sure one could argue that it's a residential school, not their permanent home so we got to set the rules, but these were people who could never live on their own. Don't they get to have the same physical enjoyment the rest of us do?
6.11.2008 2:26pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
I would think we don't let parents consent for their children because (1) the children themselves have been legally deemed incapable of consent, and (2) no one can give the relevant consent for sex but the individuals involved.
Not quite the same.

Most adults are competent to consent for themselves. A few are so disabled that they can’t even communicate, much less consent. Then there’s the continuum in between.

What of an adult who is interested in sex, capable of expressing desire, but not competent to assess the suitability of the act? The guardian would decide that factor, for instance approving sex with the disabled person’s spouse, but not a random stranger.

An analogy is money management, where the disabled decide what they want to purchase with the guardian’s approval. The guardian considers of budget and makes sure the terms of the sale aren’t exploitative, but doesn’t override the disabled person’s expressed autonomy.
6.11.2008 2:38pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
This thread is a malicious attack on the rights of millions of disabled Americans and both a violation of and an affront to every protection written by Congress into the Americans With Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

But I *get it* -- Eugene and Orin being on McCain's Presidential Judicial Selection Committee are angling to nominate the baddest of the bad Oliver Wendall Holmes "three imbeciles are enough" mindset guys in robes.

I am forwarding this obnoxious bigoted thread to Obama's campaign and to Senator Kennedy's staff as well as to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

Americans really deserve to know who and what they are voting for witgh regard to the future direction of America.
6.11.2008 3:41pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr:
" witgh " = with

What people on this blog really can't face is the fact the vote of the libertarians might become diluted by the voting block comprised of every 1 in 155 people with autism and their families who will accumulate wealth, multiply, and exercise their rights to vote these disability wealth shifters-to-the-not-disabled-fat cats out of office.

This isn't any different than suggesting guardians controlled by the libertarians be appointed to steal the wealth of latinos, stop them from multiplying, and dilute their vote -- Gawd knows we have waaay too many latinos in this Country now and they are becoming the MAJORITY VOTING POWER ...

I sense that this entire escapade is predicated on the libertarian fear, anger, frustration, and helplessness expressed toward Americans With Disabilities at the spector of disabled Americans possibly disenfranchising libertarians dwindling grip on who holds political power in this Country.
6.11.2008 3:51pm
Buckland (mail):
This thread is a malicious attack on the rights of millions of disabled Americans and both a violation of and an affront to every protection written by Congress into the Americans With Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act of 1973.


Gee, I thought it was just throwing out a subject to see if anybody had any thoughts on it. I guess my sense of outrage isn't finely tuned enough for this day and age.
6.11.2008 3:54pm
ejo:
I guess I would question why it is such an interesting and important topic. consent by guardian-is that a road we want to go down?
6.11.2008 4:14pm
AndrewK (mail):
blockquote>What of an adult who is interested in sex, capable of expressing desire, but not competent to assess the suitability of the act?



This is precisely my point. There are children who are the same way. How do we distinguish them from these adults? How do we distinguish a sexually-mature 11-year-old from a 75-year-old with the mental capacity of an 11-year-old?

The pragmatic considerations offered by Prof. Volokh, such as the fact that our denial of consent proxies for children is temporary, are, I think, insufficient to justify a distinction between the two ends of life. The mental incapacity is the beginning and the end of the situation, and any decision is a foundational one. Either sex is something that can be consented to by proxy or it is not.

I think that it is not, and that guardianship does not encompass such decisions, but I am less sure whether prior to the incapacity an adult might set up a future guardianship which DOES include such decision-making powers. Even at that point, I am curious how one could provide anything but formal checks against prostitution. When a person is completely incapable of independent consent at that point in time, I'm not sure what prostitution would even mean.
6.11.2008 4:29pm
PLR:
Gee, I thought it was just throwing out a subject to see if anybody had any thoughts on it. I guess my sense of outrage isn't finely tuned enough for this day and age.

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to use my sense of outrage or my sense of irony on those posts. Meanwhile, on the ejo front...
I guess I would question why it is such an interesting and important topic.

If you're going to die young without anyone ever entrusting himself or yourself to your care, it's probably of no interest. Off you go.
6.11.2008 4:44pm
PLR:
Gee, I thought it was just throwing out a subject to see if anybody had any thoughts on it. I guess my sense of outrage isn't finely tuned enough for this day and age.

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to use my sense of outrage or my sense of irony on those posts. Meanwhile, on the ejo front...
I guess I would question why it is such an interesting and important topic.

If you're going to die young without anyone ever entrusting himself or yourself to your care, it's probably of no interest. Off you go.
6.11.2008 4:44pm
Erÿk Boston, J.D. (mail):
Is this not a good use for a power of attorney? Explicitly include the right of consent in the document and choose a person with whom you trust such authority.

The trick is to make sure the incapacitated person has the right to deny consent despite the power of attorney. Better still, consent must come from the guardian and the incapacitated person.
6.11.2008 4:45pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
Incidentally, a note from the trenches:

I was surprised to learn, several years ago, that (under California law, at least) unless a petition for conservatorship specifically requests power of the conservator to veto the consent of the conservatee to marry, even a conservatee subject to a full conservatorship of the estate and person is legally competent to contract a marriage.
6.11.2008 4:57pm
ejo:
off you go? you can't question why a proposition to allow adults to sign off on consents for minors/incapacitated is either an interesting or desirable advance? think it through-you are "consenting" for someone to have relations with someone incapable of consent. does the consenter have to monitor the situation to ensure that the consentee is interested or desirous of the situation or, in your dimension, is that unimportant? can they consent for their own relations with the potential victim of abuse. quite frankly, because you can write an article or post on it doesn't make it a matter of either interest or a net positive for society.
6.11.2008 5:03pm
Bob Goodman (mail) (www):
Why do we have different rules for sexual activity than what we have (usually no rules) for other activities? It's like the law presumes sex is a bad thing.

And then, how much specificity does the permission require? Would one need 3rd party permission for every single instance and type of sexual activity? And if the guardian decides it would be really good for the person in question, does that person still get to say "no" at the last minute, or does the guardian get to enforce "You'll see, you'll like it"?

And what about persons who are not mentally retarded in a definable global way, but are just really, really stupid about sex? Or who are stupid overall, but smart enough about sex?
6.11.2008 5:07pm
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
ejo: Now you're raising points about why the proposed solution might not be desirable -- a perfectly respectable position. But then you should have chosen your words better from the get-go, where you questioned why this was interesting and important. Clearly interesting, clearly important (which is all PLR was trying to say); that has nothing to do with whether the proposed solution is desirable or not.
6.11.2008 5:15pm
Houston Lawyer:
Now that Anna Nichole is dead, just who are the old and mentally incompetent to have sex with?

My guess would be that people who run nursing homes would like to know so that they don't get in trouble when their residents who are suffering dementia have sex with other residents. But until I see old pervs in nursing homes being prosecuted for this sort of thing, I believe we have no particular problem.
6.11.2008 5:19pm
Anderson (mail):
I was obliged to think about this issue b/c a nursing home I represented was accused of "abuse" for not sufficiently preventing a resident with Alzheimer's from engaging in sexual conduct w/ another, unimpaired resident. We argued that the facility was in a damned if you do, damned if you don't posture, since if it restricted the woman from sexual conduct, it was potentially liable.

None of those issues was resolved due to the sheer incompetence of the state's witness, but I bring this up b/c the case was driven by how creeped-out the woman's children were at the thought of her foolin' around.

To me, that is a factor against letting a guardian (who will often be the child) make this kind of call. Too much room for understandable, but unfortunate, prejudice.
6.11.2008 5:21pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
I would suggest that much of the harm that results from 'exploitative' sexual encounters by minors results from our social attitude towards them. Most of these encounters are not something the exploited minor finds deeply unpleasant at the time, rather they are something that causes psychological pain or harm at a later time. What accounts for this? I suspect the answer is that cultural expectations cause them to look back on it as a harmful or exploitative event. Even if society tends to disapprove of sex between non-legally competent elderly people those individuals are unlikely to conceptualize themselves as having been taken advantage of in these situations so are unlikely to experience the same harms.

---

I realize some might be dubious of my argument about the importance of social factors but consider the differences in how people react to arranged marriages in cultures that approve of them and in american culture. An american forced into an unwanted marriage is much more likely to view it as akin to rape while someone whose family and society tells them it is good and right will not suffer similar psychological harm.

Ultimately one can see that it isn't the act itself which causes the harm but the retrospective conceptualization by considering the situation where a woman is penetrated while passed out. Obviously if the woman never learns that such an event happened to her then she won't suffer any psychological harm as a result of the incident. Moreover, how she conceptualizes the penetration will make all the difference in the world.

For instance a modern american woman who learns that after passing out at a party a doctor at the hospital checked her genitals (say for signs of rape or to check for possible medical problem) will likely shrug and think nothing of it. On the other hand the exact same violation performed by a drunken medical student at the party for kicks would result in a painful feeling of violation. However, if we instead take a woman from a traditional society they might react to both events as violations. Heck, even finding out who performed the action (their drunk husband or a stranger) can make the difference between viewing it as rape or a non-event.

Ultimately then there really is a difference between children and the elderly if for no other reason than because of the way they (and our culture) understands sexual encounters on their part.
6.11.2008 5:44pm
PLR:
you can't question why a proposition to allow adults to sign off on consents for minors/incapacitated is either an interesting or desirable advance? think it through-you are "consenting" for someone to have relations with someone incapable of consent. does the consenter have to monitor the situation to ensure that the consentee is interested or desirous of the situation or, in your dimension, is that unimportant? can they consent for their own relations with the potential victim of abuse.

At the risk of echoing Sasha, I think those questions are interesting and important. I tend toward the Eugene school at this point, but am open to other points of view.
6.11.2008 5:46pm
CM:
Slate posted interesting article regarding Eugene's former boss today. I am surprised to not find a thread on that topic.
6.11.2008 6:23pm
LM (mail):

I am surprised to not find a thread on that topic.

Why? Isn't that choice one of the privileges of having your own blog?
6.11.2008 6:31pm
CM:
LM wrote:

Why? Isn't that choice one of the privileges of having your own blog?

Of course it is. But the first amendment nature of the story is the sort that this forum regularly discusses. I think it will soon -- in a very thoughtful manner.

The Easy Rider should be discussed, and maybe even defended.
6.11.2008 8:00pm
LM (mail):
I think there are good motives for posting, and also for abstaining. If it were me, I'd choose the latter, but I won't be shocked either way.
6.11.2008 8:21pm
jim47:
Someone want to clue me in, is this Mary Katherine Day-Petrano person a troll? Or does she legitimately believe this, and other, threads are somehow offensive or illegal?
6.11.2008 9:28pm
AnonLawStudent:
Jim,

(1) DNFTT.
(2) Yes. See this thread by Prof. Volokh, the subject of which is apparently this comment. See also this comment (arguing in response to Prof. Volokh that blog comments satisfy the "incitement to imminent lawless action" prong under Brandenburg).
(3) Be forewarned, the troll is litigious. See here and here (cataloging various suits). Threats of a SLAPP are its weapon of choice in the comment threads.
6.11.2008 10:25pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
AnonLawStudent, here's one for you:

I have autism. My husband has epilepsy and brain injury. Oh, and he stutters. He has four children, one is an attorney. I have one child. My husband passed the Florida Bar Examination and is a licensed attorney. I passed the most difficult bar examination in the Nation, the California Bar Examination. My husband and I are married.

We are going to engage in some consensual sex later tonight, and hope to procreate to make additiona non-libertarians.

Since you LOVE to link to all-things Petrano, you are invited to come watch and satisfy your prurient interest, monitor the scope of the consensual sex, and celebrate the birth of yet another Petrano attorney.

Oh, and you can even link to the birth announcement of the baby Petrano non-libertarian attorney-to-be. Maybe even a Harvard Law Review editor, future President, and defender of civil rights to prevent First Amendment censorship of the speech of disabled Americans by the guardian-proxy-libertarian-scheme-to- control-the-wealth-and-population-growth-and- soon-to-be-disabled-voting-majority.

Cheers.
6.11.2008 11:49pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Oh, AnonLawStudent, I almost forgot to mention that my husband is ...

The Rochesterian
6.11.2008 11:52pm
swg:
One thing that's interesting to me about that Slate article is how outraged the nursing home staff seemed to be, like something terrible and harmful was going on that had to be stopped, not just for the sake of the people who had to sit next to the lovers while they did nasty things in public but for the sake of the lovers themselves.

I think the reasons we criminalize sex with a 30 year-old who has dementia might not apply equally to an 80 year-old who has dementia. The longer the person has lived, the less I think (a) that they might be harmed by a decision to have sex and (b) that the harm they experience (if they experience it) is something that we ought to worry about, at least as much as we do for a 30 year-old. Maybe I feel this way because I'm OK with greater risks being taken by people who have already lived the majority of their lives.
6.12.2008 1:49am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
The Rochesterian says he couldn't get past the LSAT until he suffered the frontal brain damage. I guess that means after the brain damage, he would have passed that other little standardized A/B/C/D test mentiuooned on Slate to determine when married men can have unchaperoned sex with their wives.
6.12.2008 3:07am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr:
"mentiuooned" = mentioned
6.12.2008 3:07am
Hans Bader (mail):
Unfortunately, there are a lot of control freaks in state legislatures (such as the Virginia and New Jersey legislatures) who would like to define as "rape" or "sexual assault" any sex to which a mentally-impaired person is a party, even if the sex is with their spouse and the disabled person would benefit from it. A lot of lawyers think like that. So do some self-proclaimed women's rights activists. They seem to view sex as an inherently bad thing that should be treated as being as involving grave risks (For example, the Harvard Crimson quoted Boston lawyer (and now judge) Nancy Gertner as arguing that the restrictions on consent to a medical operation should apply similarly to sex).

Mary Katherine Day-Petrano should be angry at those meddlesome people, who are certainly not libertarians, and not libertarian-leaning people like Eugene Volokh, who oppose such broad bans on sexual relations as an invasion of the rights of disabled people, or moderates like Orin Kerr, who she attacks above for unknown and unfathomable reasons (I see no evidence that Orin Kerr has weighed in on this topic at all, or taken any position on it, much less advocated restrictions on any one's civil liberties in this context).

Justice Holmes, who authored the much-criticized decision in Buck v. Bell, was anything but a libertarian. Indeed, he was one of the four dissenters who would have upheld peonage in the South reminiscent of slavery against challenge under the Thirteenth Amendment and related legislation.
6.12.2008 11:47am
wfjag:
jim47 &AnonLawStudent:

MKDP believes that she speaks for all persons diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Neurodiversity movement. She doesn't. For a recent review of the very broad range of opinions, see The Autism Rights Movement, New York Magazine (May 25, 2008), http://nymag.com/news/features/47225 and take a glance at the over 800 comments to the article.
6.12.2008 11:50am
PLR:
MKDP's later posts are helpful, I now understand I need not engage my sense of irony.

Apart from suggesting that California's low pass rate on the bar exam is not necessarily indicative of its degree of difficulty (way off topic, I know), I dare not respond to the rest.
6.12.2008 2:43pm
whit:

And what about persons who are not mentally retarded in a definable global way, but are just really, really stupid about sex?


we have a scientific term for these people...

men
6.12.2008 3:44pm
BobDoyle (mail):
PLR: Discretion being the better part of valor, I guess I can see your point, but if we continue to let those succeed who, through intimidation and harassment, would squelch free-speech rights because it offends their (perhaps hyper-sensitive) feelings, we will find ourselves living in the equivalent of Mark Steyn's Canada.
6.12.2008 4:10pm
LM (mail):
BobDoyle,

Intimidation is a bad reason to abstain from speaking. But sometimes there are other, better reasons to abstain, such as deferring to the request of one's host.
6.12.2008 5:08pm
BobDoyle (mail):
LM: I understand and appreciate your response. I would simply argue, however, that when the intimidater renters the fray, that prior requests to suspend further on-line interlocutions may reasonably be considered to have become null and void. Although I do agree with AnonLawStudent: DNFTT.
6.12.2008 5:39pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"MKDP believes that she speaks for all persons diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Neurodiversity movement." ---->

I have NEVER said this. You just have an irrational fear the majority of people with autism will agree with me, conjuring up in your mind, no doubt, spectral evidence of Rainman. I think we need to revive affirmative action to integrate people with autism in all Bars and on all Benches in this Country.

Imagine, a neurotypical seated next to a person with autism everywhere -- for each neurotypical, a person with autism. Eventually, real communication would occur.
6.13.2008 12:41am
LarryA (mail) (www):
This is precisely my point. There are children who are the same way.
Actually, we already allow parents some guardian’s discretion in this area. Many states have both a minimum age to marry, and a lower minimum age to marry with parental consent.

Mary Katherine Day-Petrano
My husband passed the Florida Bar Examination and is a licensed attorney. I passed the most difficult bar examination in the Nation, the California Bar Examination.
Obviously then neither of you lacks the capacity to consent and therefore you don’t need guardians, so the provisions under discussion here don’t apply to you. There are, however, people sufficiently disabled that any sexual intercourse would be abuse; for instance someone in a persistent vegetative state. For those somewhere in between, permission of a guardian that overrides the legal presumption that sex is abusive seems reasonable.
6.13.2008 12:42am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
And maybe even autism marital sex.
6.13.2008 12:47am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Larry A, but "competency" depends on whether the severely disabled perosn actually receives necessary effective communication disability accommodations in the outside world, lawyers, courts, agencies, employers, businesses. It is not as simple as you make it sound.

Terri Schiavo and Stephen Hawkings, for example, were/are candidates for pattern recognition-to-text assistive technology software to sepak their thoughts through a computer. Mr. Hawkings performs his world-class astrophysics work through such device, whereas poor Terri never had a chance to prove the same would have benefitted her.

I use voice-recognition Dragon NaturallySpeaking assistive technology, not paper, ordinarily not telephones.

Perhaps a seriously physically injured spinal-damaged person would be in the same boat as far as whether sex is a good idea, if there is no (excuse me) position that would work without extreme pain or causing additional physical deterioration/damage.

I am not saying there are not SOME mentally disabled people who are really very out of it, e.g., perhaps profound retardation less than 40 IQ, end-stage Alzheimers. But I do not think it is accurate to say all Alzheimers are in LALA land -- some would be able to effectively communicate if a form of assistive technology were provided to them to reasonably accommodate.

Even losing most of one's short-term memory is not a qualification for someone else to speak for the person, and such a person can, in fact, benefit from different assistive technologies and gizmos. I know -- I had to roommate with a woman who was hit at 70 mph in a head-on car crash, went into a coma for over four years, broke almost every bone in her body, and had very significant traumatic brain injury. Yet, quite fortunate she had the best health care policy at the time, extensive rehabilitation therapy, and an entourage of consultants, plus many gizmos, gave this woman the ability to attend college seeking a rehabilitation therapist degree.

The *not-disabled* in this Nation need to start listening to disabled people about their disabilities and abilities more, and make sometimes really stupid liberty-infringing patronizing decision for the disabled less.

You might be surprised what you might learn.
6.13.2008 1:00am
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
corr:
"perosn" = person
"sepak " = speak
6.13.2008 1:02am
wfjag:
Well, MKDP, let's quote some of the things you have said:


This thread is a malicious attack on the rights of millions of disabled Americans and both a violation of and an affront to every protection written by Congress into the Americans With Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

6.11.2008 2:41pm


What people on this blog really can't face is the fact the vote of the libertarians might become diluted by the voting block comprised of every 1 in 155 people with autism and their families who will accumulate wealth, multiply, and exercise their rights to vote these disability wealth shifters-to-the-not-disabled-fat cats out of office.

6.11.2008 2:51pm


I have autism.

6.11.2008 10:49pm


"MKDP believes that she speaks for all persons diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Neurodiversity movement." ---->

I have NEVER said this. You just have an irrational fear the majority of people with autism will agree with me, conjuring up in your mind, no doubt, spectral evidence of Rainman. I think we need to revive affirmative action to integrate people with autism in all Bars and on all Benches in this Country.

6.12.2008 11:41pm

And, as demonstrated by links posted by others in this and other threads on VC, and on other blogs, a number of commentators have concluded that your responses to posts and/or comments to posts were threats to sue them.

Since you now resort to insisting on being bound only by exactly what you have said, you should be more careful in what you say -- making clear here (and in any complaint to the Obama campaign and/or Sen. Kennedy's office) that you speak only for yourself.

And, as a FYI, I have no fear that even a significant minority of people diagnosed ASD, or their parents, guardians, families or friends of the foregoing, will ever agree with you. My concern is that people not familiar with the neurodiversity movement will conclude that you are representative of people diagnosed with ASD, and not understand that "When you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person." Threatening and insulting others is counter-productive.
6.13.2008 5:59pm