Civil Rights


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 to "provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities." The ADA broadened protections and promoted the inclusion, integration and empowerment of Americans with disabilities. In 2008, Congress enacted the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), reaffirming its commitment to protecting citizens with disabilities against discrimination and ensuring them access to opportunity.


Developmental Disabilities Act
The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) is the highest priority in AUCD's public policy work. AUCD actively engages in the reauthorization of the DD Act and the administration of its programs through the Administration on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). The law is authorized every four years and regulations and policy guidelines are developed based on the statute. The DD Act provides authorization for the 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities which comprise the base of the AUCD Network.


Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act protects all Americans by prohibiting insurers in both the group and individual health insurance market from

  • "requesting or requiring" genetic testing of an individual or his family, or
  • using genetic information to determine eligibility or establish premiums;

and by prohibiting employers, including employment agencies and labor organizations, from

  • "requesting or requiring" genetic testing of an individual or his family, or
  • using genetic information to make hiring or promotional decisions, or when determining eligibility for training programs.


Rehabilitation Act
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies or receiving Federal financial assistance, in Federal employment, and in the employment practices of Federal contractors. The standards for determining employment discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act are the same as those used in title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (also an Education issue)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) law ensures services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.


International Civil Rights
AUCD advocates for the protection of equal rights of children and adults with disabilities in all parts of the world, through international measures, including ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Learn more about the Disability Treaty.


Other Topics for the 117th Congress

Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act

Reinforcing protections afforded in the ADA, the Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act (H.R.1235) would prohibit using an individual's mental or physical disability as the sole basis of determining their eligibility for an organ transplant. 

For the People Act of 2021

The For the People Act of 2021 (H.R.1, S.1) would require all states to offer mail-in voting and early voting, institute nationwide automatic voter registration, curtail voter ID laws, limit partisan gerrymandering, and overhaul campaign finance laws.