Many of us have been saddened today to learn of the death of prominent disability rights scholar and activist Adrienne Asch. Some obituaries tributes have started to appear, and we will gather those we find in the coming days and add them to this one. Please feel free to add your own in the comments to this post.
Adrienne was the Edward and Robin Milstein Professor of Bioethics, and Director of the Center for Ethics at Yeshiva University in New York. She wrote on ethical issues in reproduction, death and dying, and justice for disadvantaged minorities in American society, and is perhaps best-known amongst philosophers for her powerful articulations of core arguments in the disability rights critique of the busy-as-usual practices utilizing prenatal diagnosis and testing.
Adrienne had been supportive of the What Sorts Network in its early days,
h/t to Ken Bond; from Nathaniel Comfort at the Scientific American blog:
Is eugenics a historical evil poised for a comeback? Or is it a noble but oft-abused concept, finally being done correctly?
Once defined as “the science of human improvement through better breeding,” eugenics has roared back into the headlines in recent weeks in both Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyll personae. The close observer may well wonder which will prevail. The snarling Mr. Hyde is the state control over reproduction.
Leilani Muir (centre) with Sandra Anderson (to her right) and the cast of The Invisible Child.
At the Alberta Literary Awards last night, the play The Invisible Child received the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for outstanding play. The play was written by David Cheoros, Lou Morin, and Leilani Muir (O’Malley), and was performed at last year’s Edmonton International Fringe Festival. A special reading of the play was given at the Living Archives team meeting in October 2012, and footage of both performances features in the Alberta Eugenics Awareness Week highlights video, which will be released later this week. Congratulations to the team that wrote and performed Invisible Child on this well-deserved honour!
In November, I posted on the Australian Senate Inquiry into the forced sterilization of women and girls with disabilities. Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) has just made its powerful, eye-opening submission to the Inquiry. And there’s something you can do, pronto, that may make a difference here: endorse or support the submission. Anyone who thinks that forced sterilization is a “thing of the past” shoudl read this submission. First, from the submission (p.20),
There is a historical precedent in several countries including for example the USA (until the 1950s), in Canada and Sweden (until the 1970s), and Japan (until 1996) indicating that torture of women and girls with disabilities by sterilisation occurred on a collective scale – that is, mass forced sterilisation. This policy was rationalised by a pseudo-scientific theory called eugenics – the aim being the eradication of a wide range of social problems by preventing those with ‘physical, mental or social problems’ from reproducing. Although eugenic policies have now been erased from legal statutes in most countries, vestiges still remain within some areas of the legal and medical establishments and within the attitudes of some sectors of the community:
from Facing History; you might also want to check out their publication for schools on eugenics here:
March 8, 2013
In San Francisco, a group of Facing History and Ourselves students is spearheading a movement that could change public high school history classes for generations of future California teens. Their goal: to include California’s history with eugenics and sterilization in the state’s public high school curricula. To read more, see the original post.