It's Time to Take Action!


We are hearing that the Obama administration understands that the proposed companionship rules will hurt consumer directed programs, institutionalize people and undercut our right to make decisions about our own bodies, but they intend to release them anyway...BEFORE Labor Day!

Their solution is that the Department of Labor won’t enforce the rules.  

That just doesn’t cut it!
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Even if DOL won’t enforce them, states will still require consumer directed programs to follow labor law, including the rules that DOL says it won’t enforce.

States that select the Community First Choice Option MUST follow ALL labor laws.

Beside that, there are plenty lawyers out there who will sue people for not following the rules whether DOL is enforcing them or not!

A promise from DOL that they won't enforce the rules is an EMPTY PROMISE!

The three minutes they gave us to make our case to Secretary Perez was an INSULT!

The impact on people with disabilities and our attendants will be PROFOUND!

Tell the White House and your elected representatives that the disability community needs to be brought to the table and not be steamrolled over by an administration that wants a good PR event!

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You wouldn't let strangers come into your house?  Would you?


The Obama Department of Labor is trying to give my keys to almost anyone!


TAKE ACTION NOW!


To keep people you don't know or trust out of your house, you can lock your doors and windows, or install an alarm.  If the Department of Labor gets its way, I will have to let strangers into my house, if I want to continue to live in the community. Why? Because I have a disability.

By forcing agencies to pay my attendants time-and-a-half for over 40 hours a week without increased Medicaid funding to pay for it, agencies will have no choice but to cut and cap the amount of hours my attendants can work.  This means, I will need to find new people to come into my home and assist me with my daily needs.  People I do not know or trust.

Finding attendants you trust is not easy.  Turnover of attendants is neither safe nor financially responsible. A few of my friends in similar situations have been victims of crime when they had to allow someone unfamiliar in their home. Checks were swiped, jewelry was “misplaced” – the same scenario can happen to anyone who allows a stranger inside their home, disabled or not! So why should the disability community be in such a vulnerable situation? 

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I should decide who touches me in bed...


but the Obama Department of Labor says it's their decision!


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As a law student I have learned that while our U.S. Constitution does not contain an express right to privacy, our nation and the Supreme Court of the United States have found that Americans do have a right to privacy. In fact, in 1992 the Supreme Court stated that "It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter."

But now the Department of Labor is breaking that promise and entering a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter - our bedrooms! The Department of Labor - under President Obama - has decided that it should regulate who touches people with disabilities in bed instead of allowing people with disabilities to make that decision for themselves by proposing rules that would require us to bring strangers in our homes and our bedrooms.

The Supreme Court has consistently found that Americans have right to privacy in the bedroom. In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA v. Casey and in Lawrence v. Texas, both cases involving personal decisions made in the bedroom, our Supreme Court stated:

"These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State."

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You wouldn’t let strangers watch you use the toilet…


but the Obama Department of Labor says I don’t have a choice!


I like my privacy, but under proposed rules by the US Department of Labor, people with disabilities - like me - will be forced to bring strangers into our homes and even our bathrooms. So I have to ask you:

How many strangers would you like to have wiping your butt after using the toilet?


TAKE ACTION NOW!

Right now, I manage my own Medicaid-funded personal assistance services and am able to choose who assists me. Kathy is my attendant. Although she is not legally my family, virtually in every other way, that’s what we are. This situation works for me, and for her. I am worried that proposed rules by the Obama administration will destroy this.

If the Obama administration moves forward with these rules, I will be forced to cut her hours and bring a stranger into my home. I’ve lived like that before, and never liked it.  Being able to choose who comes into my home and who touches my body makes a huge difference in my life. I don’t feel comfortable or safe with strangers touching me. I never feel that way with Kathy!

It’s MY body and MY life! It is NOT the government’s place to intrude into MY life just because I need assistance in the bathroom. But that’s exactly what they’re doing! The Obama administration – by making these changes to the companionship exemption – is taking control away from me and putting it in the hands of the Department of Labor. 

My body isn't an assembly line!  The government shouldn't regulate me like that's what I am!

TAKE ACTION NOW!

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Picture of woman with a disability in the shower as people watch her

It's a crime when strangers watch other women shower...


but the Obama Department of Labor is forcing me to let them in!



Under proposed rules by the US Department of Labor, people with disabilities - like me - will be forced to give strangers the keys to our homes, bring them into our bathrooms and let them see us naked.

 

How many people do you want watching you in the shower?

 

TAKE ACTION NOW!

I doubt you would want strangers coming into your home and watching you shower. Perhaps you think that - because I have a disability - I don't care who sees me naked or I am used to it, and it doesn't matter. Well frankly, it does!

Like everyone else, I want privacy. I don't want just anyone to see me naked, but the Obama administration thinks that the government, specifically the Department of Labor, should have control over that decision. Not me!

I have just a few trusted attendants who work with me.  They aren't actually family members - but we are just like family.  But the Department of Labor is establishing rules which will force me to cut their hours and bring strangers into my home to help me with my most personal care.

It's women's history month and we are celebrating the accomplishments of the women's rights movement. When I was a young girl, feminists were fighting for the right to control their own bodies.  As a woman with a disability – I am still fighting the same fight, demanding that I should make these decisions - and not the government. 

It seems ironic that I'm fighting against progressives!  I'm sure they never even considered what these rules would mean to me, as a woman with a disability. It probably never even occurred to them that they would be taking away my privacy. That these rules would undercut my right to make decisions about who touches my body. And who sees me naked.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

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