Why Britney Can't Get Out of Her Conservatorship
July 8, 2021
UPDATE: After 13 years, Britney’s conservatorship finally ended in November 2021, restoring her right to make decisions about her own life. But there are still over 1 million people with disabilities living under some form of conservatorship or guardianship in the U.S. — people who deserve access to their civil liberties, too.
In honor of Disability Pride Month, we’re devoting a few episodes to disability rights, starting with a look at conservatorships. Conservatorships are a court-sanctioned way to strip people with disabilities of their civil liberties. The system of conservatorships has gained media attention through the case of Britney Spears.
What many have learned through Britney’s story is that under conservatorships, you often can’t spend your own money; you can’t choose your own doctors; you can’t control your medical care. You can’t even choose where you live or whom you spend your time with.
And while Britney’s case has catapulted conservatorship into public consciousness, Britney’s case is not the exception. Over one million other Americans with disabilities live under some form of conservatorship or guardianship.
Zoe Brennan-Krohn, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Disability Rights Project, joins us to discuss the implications of conservatorship, for Britney and for many others.