[tw: ableism, medical abuse, rape] Feminist studies class taught you about shit like The Pillow Angel?
Did you know that the doctor who performed the illegal mutilating surgeries, bone growth plate removal, hormone treatments, full hysterectomy, breast bud mastectomy and other odds and end on a six-year-old girl committed suicide?
Did you know that her parents had a blog where they openly discussed that the main drive behind having medical experiments done to their child was the “indignity” of a “full-grown, fertile woman with the mind of a baby?”
Ashley’s parents said the decision to remove their daughter’s uterus and breast buds was for the girl’s comfort and safety.
“Ashley has no need for her uterus since she will not be bearing children,” they said, adding that the decision means she will not experience the menstrual cycle and the bleeding and discomfort commonly associated with it.
The operation also removed the possibility of pregnancy if Ashley were ever the victim of sexual abuse, they said.
The removal of the girl’s breast buds was also done in part to avoid sexual abuse, but was carried out primarily so she would not experience discomfort when lying down, the parents said.
Here’s what feminists have had to say about this case, if they bother at all(please note the eerie similarity of “the parent’s decision making process couldn’t have been easy” to “i wonder what this mother who wants her child dead is feeling”):
THIS IS THE **FEMINIST** DISCUSSION OF THE PILLOW ANGEL.
“TO BE FAIR, ASHLEY’S PARENTS…”
“THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE ASHLEY TREATMENT FOR CAREGIVERS”
“BUT WHAT IF WE DID THIS TO NON-DISABLED GIRLS? THAT WOULD BE OUT OF THE QUESTION!”
Not a single news story OR “feminist” analysis fails to call the illegal mutilation of a disabled little girl “treatment”.
Wait, what about the people whose JOB it is to defend children with disabilities? Sure hey will have something to say about this, right? Dr. Nancy Murphy, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Children with Disabilities??? What do YOU have to say?
“[This disability] shatters the reason we become parents: to watch kids grow, to be part of their lives and to launch into their own lives,” says Murphy. “When you have a child with lifelong dependency, you don’t get to launch your kid, and your caregiver options are limited.”
Like Ashley, I, too, have a static encephalopathy. Mine was caused by brain damage at the time of my breech birth. Like Ashley, I can’t walk, talk, feed or care for myself. My motor skills are those of a 3-month-old. When I was 3, a doctor assessed me as severely retarded (that is, as having an IQ of less than 35) and I was admitted to a state institution called St. Nicholas Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. As the hospital didn’t provide me with a wheelchair, I lay in bed or on the floor for most of the next 14 years. At the age of 12, I was relabeled as profoundly retarded (IQ less than 20) because I still hadn’t learned to walk or talk.
My life changed when I was offered a means of communication. At the age of 16, I was taught to spell by pointing to letters on an alphabet board. Two years later, I used spelling to instruct the lawyers who fought the habeas corpus action that enabled me to leave the institution in which I’d lived for 14 years.In the ultimate Catch-22, the hospital doctors told the Supreme Court that my small stature was evidence of my profound mental retardation. I’ve learned the hard way that not everything doctors say should be taken at face value.
Unlike Ashley, I’m now an ordinary height and weight — but I don’t get left out, nonetheless. Though I still can’t walk, talk or feed myself, I’m an enthusiastic traveler. My size has never got in the way, though my hip flask of Bundy rum often causes alarm at airport security.
Given that Ashley’s surgery is irreversible, I can only offer sympathy to her and her parents. For her sake, I hope she does not understand what has happened to her; but I’m afraid she probably does. As one who knows what it’s like to be infantilized because I was the size of a 4-year-old at age 18, I don’t recommend it.