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Themes today

Many of the prejudiced attitudes that still exist today have their foundations in these longstanding historical influences.

Various aspects of medical treatment and care in the UK, USA and Europe are causing great concern to the disability movement, eg:

• Cut-backs in the welfare state, rationing health care;
• ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ policies (decided by medical staff) for some disabled people;
• Growing demands for voluntary euthanasia which, in some cases, can be misused to dispose of a ‘burdensome’ disabled person;
• The prospect of designer babies, using the knowledge gleaned from the Genome Project, further marginalising people with impairments.

A list of people in history who might not have existed if such policies had operated in the past would include:

Beethoven (deaf)

Toulouse Lautrec (short stature)

Stephen Hawking (motor neurone disease)

Einstein (dyslexic)

Byron (club foot)

F.D. Roosevelt (polio in both legs and unable to walk unaided).

Winston Churchill (depression)

Helen Keller (deaf, blind)

Tanny Grey Thompson, athlete (spina bifida) … and many others.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
riss287
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
I was just told that Obama supports eithanizing babies that were supposed to be aborted but were born accidentally. Abortion is a complicated issue, but anytime where voluntary euthanasia is permitted, the slippery slope could lead to involuntary euthanasia for anyone deemed "unfit" or taxing on the rest of the populace. I don't know how many times I've heard people say that ppl with disabilities cost the state too much money. Those are the types of attitudes that Hitler and the Nazis used (and even before the Nazis came to power) to support sterilizing and euthanizing people with disabilities.

A lot of people don't even know that FDR had polio. It's still kind of a hugh-hush thing. I guess because a President isn't "supposed" to be "disabled" in the public's view.
francisb
Sep. 3rd, 2008 06:09 am (UTC)
I am currently reading "No Pity : People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement" by Shapiro. This book is now about 15 years old, and it interests me how little has changed.
I do not see that organized, unified civil rights movement Shapiro discusses. Instead, I see back biting, in-fighting, people in different categories competing for resources, and I see a few gains and an equal number of losses.
I too get very concerned when I hear people talking designer babies, and eliminating those of us who had an identifiable genetic trait before we enter the world. The state of health care is truly terrifying here in the US, and when things get touch, those most vulnerable will be hurt the most.
I might as well get myself in trouble early in this group, I strongly disagree with the stand I hear against euthanasia. I am well aware of the arguments, but the solution is to improve the level of care and quality of people's lives, not restrict my right to end my life under certain circumstances to be determined by my doctor and I.
It is my life, and it is my decision to make if I reach a point where I no longer choose to continue it. It also fascinates me how so many people are about people with disabilities being able to make decisions in life, except for this one.
BTW, I am blind since around the age of two from bilateral retinoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer with a well studied genetic cause.
riss287
Sep. 3rd, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC)
Actually, I am not against someone having the right to decide what they do with their own life, whether it be the right to death or not. However, I do think that the minute we allow voluntary euthanasia, someone will find a loophole and start doing away with those that are burdensome on the healthcare system. But I do agree with you that we have the right to make that decision. It's just the logistics of it, in a world where people rate the worth of life of others, that it would make it very dangerous. Weimar Germany began promoting voluntary euthanasia. By the time Hitler got in there, it soon became involuntary. I just think there are too many things to consider for it to plausible in some situations and not in others. It's like that saying about giving someone an inch and he/she'll take a mile.

I'm visually impaired since birth and have also been diagnosed with something genetic.
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