Saturday, January 06, 2007

Debate this:

I have been all over with my thoughts and opinions on the Ashley Treatment.

To summarize very quickly what I'm talking about - quoted from the Ashley Treatment blog:

The treatment includes growth attenuation through high-dose estrogen therapy, hysterectomy to eliminate the menstrual cycle and associated discomfort to Ashley, and breast bud removal to avoid the development of large breasts and the associated discomfort to Ashley.

I had immediately reacted negatively towards all this, thinking, "Well, my boyfriend probably won't be able to use his legs again... should we cut those off to make it easier for me? Hell no."

Yet, then I considered having a mentally disabled person, which (in this case) is unlikely to progress any further. I sort of understood what the parents were attempting to do then.

But, the medical world is making leaps and bounds all over the place with all sorts of (what we had known to be) permanent disabilities. Who is to say that in Ashley's lifetime that something could be done to help her progress?

I'm very up in the air about this. I cannot say I am for or against the Ashley Treatment. I've been arguing both sides in my head since I heard about this two days ago.

What are your thoughts?


angie said...

I could see the benefits simply because of having to take care of larger females durning "that time" and for those purposes I see the good in it. now if it was a little boy or whatever, I don't think any treatment should be taken.

I mean I have mixed feelings, and I think since she is only 9 or whatever that they could what until she is a little older

Elizabeth said...

Wow, touchy subject! What the heck got you on this subject?

thethinker said...

Yeah, I haven't quite figured out my stance on the issue yet either. On the one hand, I don't think they should do what's most convenient for them while trying to use her condition as justification for it. Though, I can kind of see where they're coming from in wanting to potentially make her future the slightest bit easier for her.

Who knows if, in the end, their decision will be easier for them as the caretakers or her as the patient...

RisibleGirl said...

Very interesting. I have a brother that is marginally disabled. He has full physical and mental capabilities (IQ), but his emotional state is that of a 10 year old.

It's very difficult for my parents to deal with him sometimes because he's 6'4 inches and when frustrated, is a hand full.

I often think about what I would have done differently if I was the one that raised him. Actually, my other two siblings and I have this discussion often.

I agree with what they've done for Ashley, and think it makes perfect sense in their situation. Especially the possiblility of sexual abuse. It's disgusting that these things happen, but they do....

I do not, however, think it's a catch all answer to all situations.

AnnaNomsa said...

Hi Sheila,

Found you on Flickr in the Rock That Disability group.

I'm also struggling terribly with this. I think I've come to the conclusion that although I can see why its such an appealing thing to her parents, I don't think it should be done.

It would be interesting to see how it fares against the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Article 23c states that: Persons with disabilities, including children, (should) retain their fertility on an equal basis with others.

On a part-time voluntary basis I care for two little girls who are severly physically disabled, moderately mentally disabled and don't have parents. They live in a hospital type set up round the corner from me in Cape Town, South Africa.

Some of the other people there had hysterectomies and they have aged horribly. Its pretty much impossible legally these days in South Africa though.

Anyway, like I said, I can see why her parents might feel like this is a solution. Its hard to care for my girls, and the older one is getting difficult to lift on my own. But the reality is that she is 15, and to her at least its important to grow into a young woman for her self esteem. Maybe this isn't the same for Ashley, but nonetheless, I can't help feeling like when she's 15 she should look 15.

Then again, perhaps if her parents experienced more support and inclusion from wider society, and were enabled to have better lives with their daughter in the first place, they wouldn't get to this extreme. They probably feel very isolated and desperate.