Nicole Lee is one of Australia’s leading disability-rights advocates. A spinal cord injury when she was young left Nicole Lee dependent on a wheelchair for mobility. But, as she revealed in a recent article at Quartz.com, accessibility and discrimination aren’t the only challenges women with disabilities face. One of the most daunting challenges, she says, is getting people who talk so loudly about the “right to choose” to actually respect their choices.
In the article, Lee describes her three pregnancies. At age 18, she had her first child. When she found herself pregnant again at 22, she decided to have an abortion, something she describes as a “difficult decision.” While she expected the people at the abortion clinic to agree with her, she also expected counseling and “to be… treated with empathy and concern.”
Instead, she writes, “no one blinked an eye. No counseling. No questions… no support was offered afterward.”
Looking back, she sees how differently she was treated compared to non-disabled women at the clinic. Because of her disability, people saw her decision to end her pregnancy as “unquestionably” the right decision.
If you think Lee is overreacting, the story of her third pregnancy proves otherwise. When sharing the news about the child in her womb, she was often asked, “How are you going to cope with being pregnant?” followed by “How are you going to take care of a newborn baby?” This, even though she was happily raising her first child.
Lee wants to know, “Why wasn’t I asked about my ability to cope after having an abortion? Why was no one concerned about my welfare then?”
At least part of the reason, she suspects, has to do with eugenics. There’s fear of passing on a genetic defect. There are doubts, as Lee put it, about “whether or not a disabled person can live ‘a good life.’” And remember, Lee’s disability was caused by an injury.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera