Fact Check

Did the U.S. Pass an 'Americans with No Abilities' Act?

'As a Non-abled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them,'

Published Nov 15, 2014

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The U.S. Congress is considering passage of the "Americans with No Abilities" Act.

Variants of the above-quoted "Americans with No Abilities Act" bit of political humor have been circulating on the Internet since 1998, based on the original published by the satirical Onion website in June of that year under the title "Congress Passes Americans with No Abilities Act," a pun on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) legislation of 1990.

In 2004 this lampoon was circulated prior to that year's U.S. presidential election, presented as a "What if?" piece projecting events forward into 2005 and quoting "President Kerry" (a reference to that year's Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry) as being a supporter of the AWNAA.

A 2006 version of this item altered the original's fabricated quotes from President Clinton and attributed them to instead to U.S. senators Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy, while the fictitious Mary Lou Gertz, described in the 1998 original as an unessential filing clerk at a Minneapolis tile wholesaler, was turned into a lug-nut twister at the General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan. (A reference to illegal aliens was also inserted into the concluding sentence.)

A 2009 variant again updated the piece, this time to invoke the names of President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Illinois senator Dick Durbin.

A 2007 version of this satire even changed the country, fingering Australia as the nation that had enacted the legislation and faceitously quoting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and MP Martin Ferguson of Victoria as being in favor of it.


The Onion.   "Congress Passes Americans with No Abilities Act."     24 June 1998.

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