Washington, DC – Comments by State Representative Martin Harty of New Hampshire that “the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities…the defective people society would be better off without,” should be shipped to Siberia, harkens back to the darkest days of history for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities when forced institutionalization and sterilization was commonplace.
“Rep. Harty’s remarks are reprehensible and should be condemned by his constituents and colleagues alike. Our society has long ago recognized that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are part of the fabric of our society with the right to be included and participate in the community,” said Peter V. Berns, Chief Executive Officer of The Arc. “While we don’t believe that Rep. Harty views are representative of America’s elected officials, these remarks are especially chilling as budget slashing across the nation threatens the well being of our most vulnerable” Berns added
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy, Jr., sounded a clarion call to bring people with I/DD out of the shadows and into the light and affirmed the fundamental value of people with I/DD and their potential to achieve in every aspect of society. In the face of Representative Harty’s outrageous behavior, we need to be reminded of that message today.
“People with I/DD can and should lead lives of inclusion and opportunity, realizing their full potential in school, the workplace and throughout the community. The Arc stands with them as valued, contributing members of their community, and calls on people of good conscience in New Hampshire and nationwide to do the same.” Berns said.