Approximately 22% of Maryland residents have disabilities, such as blindness, deafness, or a physical, mental, intellectual or developmental disability (CDC).
The Catholic Church calls for the defense of rights “that enable individuals with disabilities to achieve the fullest measure of personal development [possible].” (Pastoral Statement of US Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities)
This includes equal opportunities in:
- access to public accommodations that foster the creation of a stronger and more integrated support system.
People with disabilities in our country have at times experienced unjust discrimination, been targeted for abortion and been denied otherwise-ordinary medical procedures. The respect for life should ensure the just treatment and inclusion of all people.
The Conference works to advocate for policies that uphold the right to life, provide equitable medical treatment, and enable individuals with a disability to live their lives to the fullest. Among the legislative initiatives on which the Conference has successfully engaged:
- codifying the Temporary Disability Assistance Program
- increasing funding for disabled housing and assistance programs
- requiring that up-to-date information about Down syndrome be available for health providers who give a prenatal or postnatal diagnosis of Trisomy 21
- instituting pilot programs in higher education that provide more inclusion for persons with disabilities.