Damaged Merchandise Myth in the 21st Century

According to Southern California Public Radio (KPCC 89.3FM), Dr. Stan Katz, acting as an expert witness for the Los Angeles Unified School District in a 2013 trial to determine the amount of damages due to a student who had been repeatedly sexually assaulted, suggested that the victim’s low IQ “acts as a protective factor.” The logic being that because of her disability, victim who was 9 years old when assaulted should receive less compensation.

The attorney for the girl who was assaulted, David Ring, said that the jury was offended by the “protective factor” comment and responded by awarding the victim $1.4 million in damages instead of the $10,000 – $12,500 that the district had requested. The news account  also indicates that other experts repudiated the “protective factor” argument. Continue reading

Andrew Solomon: Far from the tree

Andrew Solomon’s book, Far From the Tree, provides a fresh perspective on families and disability culture with his notions of vertical and horizontal identities. Although it certainly connects with work in disability studies and notions of deviance. It provides something new. In this talk, Solomon talks about various kinds of differences in families.

Documentary on Ashley Treatment

22 May 2012 Disability Rights Washington and Video Galaxy  have great new video  on the Ashley Treatment on their website. There is also a poll on this page asking whether you believe more safeguards are needed to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities from civil rights violations and medical discrimination of the Ashley Treatment and related procedures. Continue reading

Canada’s Live Euthanasia Debate Tonight

15 March 2011 Tonight from 8 to Midnight Eastern Time Global News is hosting a live blog on whether it is a good idea for parents to be permitted to kill their children who have severe disabilities. The three-person panel that they have assembled for this are all advocates for euthanasia of people with severe disabilities, including convicted murderer Robert Latimer. Please consider taking part in this, and if you think killing people with disabilities is a bad idea, please say so. Also please let others who care about this issue know about this.  Global’s information about this “Taking Mercy” event can be found here. This debate directly will address the question of “What Sorts of People Should there Be?”

Kidney Transplant Denied

The parents of a young girl with Wolf-Hirschorn syndrome claim that she was denied a kidney transplant solely on the basis of her intellectual disability at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The mother’s account of her interaction with the social worker and physician is very specific. There seems to be little room to conclude maybe there was some other reason for the denial. Medical Ethicist Art Kaplan’s poll goes right to the heart of this. While Kaplan concludes, “But those reasons, to be ethical, have to be linked to the chance of making the transplant succeed. Otherwise they are not reasons, they are only biases,” the poll on the page asks simply, “Do you think a mental disability is a valid reason to deny a transplant?” If you have an opinion consider responding to the poll. Continue reading