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California lawmaker wants to get rid of 'the R-word'

March 7, 2012 |  1:21 pm


A California legislator said Wednesday that she wants to revise the state’s law books to excise what she calls the "R-word."

State Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) said  the word "retarded" is outdated and not in current professional use.

Pavley has introduced legislation to change the wording in provisions of state law relating to educational and social services, commitment to state facilities and criminal punishment.

SB 1381 would replace the word with the phrases  "intellectual disability" or "a person with an intellectual disability." The measure is supported by groups including the Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California.

"The R-word intentionally or unintentionally demeans and hurts people with intellectual disabilities. It is a term used in bullying and sometimes hate crimes," Pavley said, noting about 7 million Americans experience intellectual disabilities.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: State Sen. Fran Pavley has introduced a bill to rid state law of the word "retarded.'" Credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times