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  • Ryan Wittler

The D.C. Circuit Overturned an FDA Ban on Shock Devices Used on People With Disabilities

CQ Roll Call

In March, the FDA banned the use of electrical shock devices used to discourage aggressive and self-harming behavior by people with disabilities. The ban followed years of advocacy from disability rights groups who called the treatment “outdated, ineffective, and unethical,” according to the Associated Press. This week: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with the Judge Rotenberg Center, the challenger of the ban and the only institution in the U.S. that still uses shock devices on disabled people, finding the FDA exceeded its legal authority when enacting the ban. The FDA had relied on a statute giving it power to pull unreasonably dangerous devices off the market, however, the court found the ban amounted to a regulation of the practice of medicine, something that must be left to the states. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network put out a statement denouncing the ruling, saying it will only allow the challengers to “continue torturing people with disabilities.”

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