Tell the ACLU to Fight Mandatory Autism Databases!

Tell the ACLU to Fight Mandatory Autism Databases!

1,933 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
Amy Marschall started this petition

The following states have registries and laws requiring that mental health professionals and physicians register autistic clients with the state:

New Hampshire
New Jersey
North Dakota
Rhode Island
West Virginia

These registries are mandatory, and the various state laws allow for providers to be fined, disciplined, or even lose their license to practice if they fail to report autistic clients. This is an egregious human rights and ethical violation.

According to the American Psychological Association ethical code 1.02, Conflicts between Ethics and Law, “If psychologists’ ethical responsibilities conflict with law, regulations, or other governing legal authority, psychologists clarify the nature of the conflict, make known their commitment to the Ethics Code, and take reasonable steps to resolve the conflict consistent with the General Principles and Ethical Standards of the Ethics Code. Under no circumstances may this standard be used to justify or defend violating human rights.” As such, psychologists must demand that these mandatory databases be shut down.

Per the American Psychological Association Ethical Principles of Psychologists Code of Conduct, Section 4.01, Maintaining Confidentiality, “Psychologists have a primary obligation and take reasonable precautions to protect confidential information obtained through or stored in any medium.” As such, requiring psychologists to disclose identifying information directly conflicts with our commitment to confidentiality for our clients.

The APA Ethical Principles, Section 8.02, Informed Consent to Research, requires that human research participants must be given information about “their right to decline to participate and to withdraw from the research once participation has begun.” Because the Database is mandatory and does not allow autistic people to withdraw from their use in research, the Database is in direct violation of this principle. The Database requiring that psychologists submit this information even if the client cannot be informed also violates this principle as well as APA Ethics Code Section 4.02: Discussing the Limits of Confidentiality.

The National Association for Social Workers (NASW) Ethical Principle, Privacy and Confidentiality, 1.07, states: "Social workers should respect clients' right to privacy. Social workers should not solicit private information from or about clients except for compelling professional reasons. Once private information is shared, standards of confidentiality apply." These mandated reporting laws defy this confidentiality right.

NASW Principle 5.02 states, "Social workers should never design or conduct evaluation or research that does not use consent procedures." As such, complying with this request to use identifying data for research purposes is a violation of this code.

Other ethical codes have similar guidelines prohibiting violation of confidentiality when the safety of the client or another human is not at risk.

Furthermore, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states, “no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.” As such, mandating that autistic individuals be included in research without their consent is a violation of international human rights law.

Such databases present a dangerous precedent for documenting people based on a DSM diagnosis and conducting human subjects research without consent.

Since multiple states uphold these databases, action is needed on the federal level to shut them down. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has the power to challenge these databases in court and get them shut down.

Please sign this petition demanding the removal of these unethical and illegal databases!

Photo Credit: File:Pastel Neurodiversity Symbol.png by MissLunaRose12

1,933 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!