Human Exceptionalism

Ashley’s Parents Speak

Okay: Now I am getting a touch of the willies about this situation. Here is the Web site of Ashley’s parents. (HT:Bernhardt Varenius)

Ashley’s breasts buds were removed to prevent future discomfort. Her appendix was removed as a prophylactic against appendicitis. The parents have ignited the discussion as a way of urging other parents of similarly disabled children to consider having them also undergo surgery and hormone therapies to become “pillow angels.”

One of the reasons for the surgery was to prevent boredom. But Ashley could have been given plenty of attention if she were not kept diminutive.

Obviously, all we know about this case is what the parents tell us. And they seem to be on a mission. Fine. But before “Ashley’s Treatment,” as the parents call it–which consists of serious surgeries and hormone therapies–comes to be seen as an appropriate method of “caring” for the profoundly disabled, it would seem to me that we need a lot more information about her case, her family situation, and the potential consequences of such “therapies.” Also, what benefits and burdens might attend to disabled children like Ashley if they are allowed to develop normally?

I would also be interested in what the disability rights folk think about this situation.