Eugenics in Alabama?

April 10, 2020

The State of Alabama apparently had plans in place to ration the distribution of ventilators by singling out sick patients with intellectual disabilities. The plan, titled “Criteria for Mechanical Ventilator Triage Following Proclamation of Mass-Casualty Respiratory Emergency,” excludes an entire category of human beings in respiratory distress from having access to a ventilators, which are in short-supply.. 

According to the State’s criteria, Alabama hospitals are ordered to “not offer mechanical ventilator support for patients” with “severe or profound mental retardation” and “moderate to severe dementia.” The policy also applies to children with those conditions. 

In March, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an advisory opinion that held that the Alabama criteria were a violation of patients’ civil rights. Many touted the statement as a victory. 

They failed to read the small print: The Department of Health and Human Services retains the right to exercise its “enforcement discretion” to prevent the state from actually following that criteria or not.