I was moved by this Twitter thread from Nina Tame. I’m reprinting it here for your consideration.
There is no room in the medical model for any neutrality around disability. It’s always a devastating tragedy.
I’m an adult with Spina Bifida, a birth “defect.” I’m a horror show of a worse case scenario because I’m a full time wheelchair user. You know because not being able to walk must mean a life of unhappiness. 🙄
I have 4 children. One of them has Spina Bifida too, and after finding this out at our 20 week scan we were offered a termination. Not because it was life threatening, but because he might not walk. We were offered a termination four other times just because my baby was like me.
He does walk, by the way, but that shouldn’t matter anyway because a nonwalking life is still a life worthy of living. I can’t walk but I still adore life. Still go out, get stoned, have sex, have a fulfilling job and a partner and kids and friends and family I adore. But in a medical system designed to fix the broken and heal the sick, those of us who can’t be “fixed” or won’t get “better” are disregarded as sad little tragedy cases. Lives that aren’t worth living.
We see this in the difference between paediatric and adult care. Once you hit 18 it drops off significantly and leaves many of us with inadequate health care. It’s almost like once the medical system realises we can’t be fixed or cured we’re thrown on the scrap pile.
Disability isn’t a tragedy. It’s a neutral term, but never viewed like that. What makes it worse is the challenges I do have often have nothing to do with my Spina Bifida and everything to do with the lack of care I get for it and all the other ableist societal shit I have to deal with. Spina Bifida isn’t a death sentence, yet it’s made out to be. So much so that many (85%) wanted pregnancies are terminated because of it.
Disability isn’t tragic but the way the medical model frames it definitely is.Nina Tame
Please note I have no knowledge of Tame’s views on abortion, and this post is not meant to be an argument about the legality or morality of abortion generally. My focus here is narrower. I think there should be common ground between pro-choice and pro-life people on the specific issue of (some) medical professionals providing prenatal disability diagnoses to parents with incomplete information, ignorance of resources available, and the presumption that parents will desire abortion.