Congress Takes On Outdated Disability Terminology
More than a year after the federal government replaced “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in many laws, officials are looking to shift away from other terms also deemed offensive to those with disabilities.
Under a bill proposed last month, two U.S. senators want to remove the word “lunatic” from federal law. The term, which originates from Latin and first referred to a type of insanity spurred by changes in the moon, is now considered derogatory by those with mental illness and other disabilities.
Much like the 2010 passage of Rosa’s Law replaced “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” without changing the meaning or intent of any laws, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., say their 21st Century Language Act is simply an effort to reflect more modern terminology.
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“The continued use of this pejorative term has no place in the U.S. Code,” Conrad said on the Senate floor, reports BBC News Magazine. “‘Lunatic’ is an unnecessary term and… its removal will have no impact on the broader federal law.” To read more click here.