Legislature approves dropping 'mental retardation' from Iowa laws

Term will be replaced with 'intellectual disability'

A bill that would remove the phrase "mental retardation" from most state laws has passed the Iowa Legislature and now will go to Gov. Terry Branstad.

The House unanimously approved the bill Tuesday. The Senate had earlier passed the bill, also unanimously.

The Des Moines Register reports that Branstad has indicated his support for the change.

The move is part of a national effort to encourage governments and individuals to stop using the term.

Activists say the term "mental retardation" can be hurtful to people who have a variety of disabilities.

In Iowa, the phrase "intellectual disability" will be used instead.

In November 2008, Iowa voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution to get rid of language that advocates for the mentally disabled deemed offensive. The amendment changed the terms "idiot or insane" person to "a person adjudged mentally incompetent to vote."

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