I must preface this post with the statement that I am staunchly pro-choice but I must admit that there are certain aspects of the pro-choice movement that make me very uneasy. Today there was a post on the main page discussing how Poland had been chastised for refusing genetic testing to a woman whose fetus may have been malformed. As I said in my direct comment to that posting I applaud international support for abortion rights but as a disabled person cannot condone the use of possible congenital disabilities as a valid reason to support abortion access.
Feministing in general does a wonderful job of supporting disability right as a whole and especially as they relate to the women’s movement. For this reason it is all the more shocking that a Feministing contributor would say directly that the choice of abortion is always to left to the woman regardless of reasoning. In fairness Jos does mention that there are issues surrounding this reasoning but she does in the end save the choice should be up to the woman.
Allowing this sort of thinking to continue within the feminist movement can only lead to damaging the disability rights movement. Supporting a woman’s right to choose to abort a disabled fetus that would otherwise have been wanted child allows stigma around disability to grow. In this case I must firmly stand on that future child’s right to the chance of life.
there are already movements (though small ones) that support parents right to choose after the birth of a child whether to euthanize said child if they are born disabled. I do not think that is at all illogical to suppose that if a parent should be allowed to abort a child based on fetal abnormality that said parent if they are not informed before the birth that they should be allowed to euthanize or at least abandon said child on the basis of disability alone.
In addition Feministing has a long history of commenting on India’s major issue of sex selective abortions. In none of the articles found on Feministing that I have read in regards to this issue to the contributors ultimately conclude that it is sad that these female fetuses are being aborted but ultimately it is the mother’s choice after all. On the contrary the contributor usually calls for there to be more work done in raising the status of women in India so that this unfortunate occurrence no longer happens.
The same should be said for fetuses who develop abnormalities be they genetic disorders like down syndrome wer simply a birth defect that results in the loss of a limb. The only exceptions I would find to this necessary movement is that if the malformed child once born were simply going to die regardless of medical intervention.
I do not deny that children with disabilities require extra work and more effort on the part of parents (but to a certain extent so do girls warned families in India). I know that you are not identical in situation but they are not so different that comparisons cannot be drawn. It is for this reason that I call for all Feministing contributors to cease forth with him ever again using the possible disability of a fetus as a reason to support abortion rights.