Elizabeth Picciuto and I collaborated on a piece in the Los Angeles Times today on abortion and disability rights in the age of Zika. Two key paragraphs:
We are parents of children with disabilities who are also pro-reproductive rights. David Perry’s 9-year-old son has Down syndrome. Elizabeth Picciuto’s 6-year-old son has Cri du Chat syndrome and microcephaly. Rather than limit women’s rights, we believe we must build a more understanding, accessible society that supports people with disabilities and provides services to parents. That’s how we can safeguard access to abortion while ensuring that it isn’t the only feasible option following a prenatal diagnosis.
The answer isn’t to force pregnant women to give birth. The best way to open up new possibilities for women after a prenatal diagnosis is to guarantee that disabled children are well-supported with the services they need, that they have adequate medical care, and access to great schools. If the Rubios and Pences of the world really want to make a difference, they could work to ensure that communities are empowered to welcome and include disabled people, not to shut them out.
Some of my previous pieces on reproductive rights and disability rights:
- For Parents of Children With Down Syndrome, ‘Abortion vs. Hardship’ Is a False Binary (Reproductive Health Reality Check, 11/18/2014)
- Down Syndrome and the Discourse of Abortion (Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune, print edition 10/5/2008)
- Anti-Choice Legislators Try to Force Wedge Between Reproductive, Disability Rights Activists (Reproductive Health Reality Check, 1/16/15)