Human Exceptionalism

Art Caplan Gets It Right About Ashley

I don’t usually agree with Art Caplan, and he doesn’t usually agree with me. But he has it right in this piece that imposing a hysterectomy, mastectomy, and hormonal treatments on a disabled girl to make sure she remained small–while certainly well motivated–went too far. He is also right that people in such circumstances deserve a higher level of services than are currently available.

Still, had Ashley’s parents decided to pull her feeding tube because they thought life as a disabled girl involved too much suffering, would Art still be in opposition to the parental will? Or would it be a case of keeping her small, no, dehydrate her to death, yes? I bring this up because he was often bitter and caustic in his support of Michael Schiavo’s successful bid to have Terri Schiavo dehydrated to death. Here is one of his more measured pieces in that regard.