What Makes a woman a woman? A person a person?

“The mother of a severely disabled child said yesterday that she would “move heaven and earth” to get her daughter the surgery that has stopped an American girl from growing up.” –The Telegraph

Via Feminist Response in Disability Activism (FRIDA) and BrownFemiPower:

In essence, Katie’s mother and mother’s partner are her primary caregivers and to protect Katie from the “indignity” of having a period, Katie’s mom wants her daughter to have a hysterectomy. Katie is not judged able to communicate for herself. Hmm, doesn’t this sound familiar? Where have we heard this before? —FRIDA

Katie Thorpe, a 15 y/o girl living in England, now faces the possibility of having Ashley X type treatments (hormones, hysterectomies, etc to stop menustration and the possibility of having children) so that it will be easier to take care of her. Because she has CP and learning disabilities, she is having no say over her body.

What’s most frusterating about this is that A.) people are once again pitting the problem on the person’s disability, B.) Ashley X was a horrible horrible injustice but many parents saw it/are seeing it as a viable option, C.) the media and public’s automatic sympathy and support for this, and D.) the fact that we live in a world where if you have a disability (and particularly, are a woman), being institutionalized, murdered, or having body parts removed is seen as a GOOD solution, rather than home-based services and a more accessible society.

How can we organize around this, people? Please let me know if you post about this so we can keep all the responses together.


In addition to the list of bloggers that Penny at Disability Studies Temple University has going, there is a discussion on Feminste and the BBC OUCH forums.



Filed under activism, disability

6 responses to “What Makes a woman a woman? A person a person?

  1. Why, oh why, did I have to see this at three o’clock in the morning? Now I’m going to have to stay up and blog about this. I’m effing furious about this!

  2. Oh, crap. Definitely need to blog on this. Thanks for bring it up!

  3. Thanks for blogging about this Stacey. I was thinking i was the only disability blogger who had…

    There’s also a discussion going on about it on the BBC Ouch message board: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbouch/F2322273

    Thankfully there seem to be less pro-sterilisation posters there than there were at the time of the Ashley case…

  4. It makes the mind reel about how parents are determined to dehumanized their own children for Nazi-like Experiments rather than open their eyes and see that there are disabled people out there in the world. I wonder if they would castrate a little boy that way. I don’t want to say, Hmmm, just yet. They might.

  5. Pingback: Women of Color Blog » because sterilizing makes helps stop rape.

  6. This case scares the hell out of me and brings me to tears. I just posted about it too.
    aka Big Noise

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