Santorum, Peter Singer and “culling.”

February 19, 2012 at 2:01 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

Thanks so much for making me feel squeezed this morning /snark.I’m feeling goddamned stuck in the middle between the utilitarian streak of some on the left, [Peter Singer and his, “Well a disabled child isn’t really a person,” remark on Chris Hayes show a few months ago comes to mind.] and nutcases like Santorum.

Evidently Santorum made the argument earlier today that the reason prematal testing is part of the Affordable Care Act is to cull people with disabilities out of existence. There are so many vital reasons for prenatal testing….he cannot concieve of more than one outcome after a genetic test. Whatever.

We’re smart enough to know Santorum is being vile, using this for political expediency. He, like every conservative today is talking out of both sides of his mouth. “Save the babies!” on the one hand, and “never pay for their care!” on the other. Not that there isn’t a genuine left utilitarian streak that PWDs have to fight all the time.

Uses of prenatal testing need to be discussed, and not in Santorum’s context. It needs to be discussed to avoid PWD invisibility on the issue.

I state categorically that I would never presume to “argue” with any woman who chose to terminate on the basis of disability alone. I wouldn’t know enough about the circumstances that caused her to do so. In general, I am against, seriously against, terminating on the basis of disability alone, but it isn’t my place to impose what I think on another woman faced with this, and there are individual cases (no brain at all?, etc) where I think I’d step out of my general opposition)


When a pregnancy is terminated for disability alone, there is sometimes, depending on the condition involved, an unavoidable message sent.

“We want a perfect society. We don’t want you.”
“We’re uncomfortable around you. You remind us of our own mortality.”

“We don’t believe in our own ability to handle a child child with disabilities.” (IMO this is a really sad one. I’ve seen so many handle what they did not think they could, and be glad.)

Or the one that both the left and right use.

“I/We can’t afford it.”

I’d imagine my parents, Steven Hawking’s parents, Maysoon Zaid’s parents, might have had thoughts like that.

Those arguments like to be couched on the left sometimes as against the mother.

They aren’t. They are against being devalued. They are against giving anybody any leg to stand on to cut existing supports for us.

But it’s also important to point out the dumbestassery of all of any of the Rightward folks that talk about this in terms of “culling.” They cull, themselves. All the time. Every time cuts in Medicare or Medicaid are done. When the health care industry puts profit ahead of care.

When they cut Medicaid in Alabama for persons over 21 years of age, ventilator dependent quadriplegics died. Or had to flee the state.

When a pharmaceutical company didn’t self correct in a timely manner *in the name of profit* they allegedly may have caused my husband’s death and the death of many like him.

Call Santorum on the vileness of the remark, absolutely,

but lefties, clean your own utilitarian house too.

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The Philosopher-King of WTF

November 7, 2011 at 1:59 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

Well, on Up with Chris Hayes on Sunday, Peter Singer, the man with the ok-to-euthanize disabled-infants belief system did manage to begin to sneak the crazy into one question while the panel was debating…. he actually said, “Well a four month old baby isn’t really a person…” Everyone else on the panel, right or left, kinda stopped talking and blinked in astonishment. Except for Chris Hayes himself…That young fella drinks *too much coffee!* He just kept right on talking.

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The 1/2 Compromise and Health Care (Updated)

July 17, 2009 at 11:05 AM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

I hope you all will pardon me for the tone and lack of proofing in this diary.

Somebody at the NYT let this man write. That’s on their heads. But when Peter Singer starts babbling about the value of the lives of persons with disabilities, as it pertains to the health care debate…I have to speak. I am compelled to speak. Because this Princeton chair is, to put it mildly, full of  crap

I’ll preface this by two things. He is an advocate of rationing care, and that particular piece of it I’m not disputing. I also know that if care is cost/benefit rationed there are unfortunate formulae that must be used. Life insurers and attorneys do it all the time. It is the insidious nature of the examples he’s using — but as many in the disability community already know, this is the guy that opined that killing severely disabled infants after birth might be something society should look into, to save itself the burden.

I’m at the computer. I’m shaking with rage and it has to come out. Don’t bring us the formulae of economists and sociologists Mr. Singer, in the guise of stating in a mainstream newspaper that we should accept the idea that a person with a disability’s life is worth less than the famous 3/5ths compromise of the 18th century.

One common method is to describe medical conditions to people — let’s say being a quadriplegic — and tell them that they can choose between 10 years in that condition or some smaller number of years without it. If most would prefer, say, 10 years as a quadriplegic to 4 years of nondisabled life, but would choose 6 years of nondisabled life over 10 with quadriplegia, but have difficulty deciding between 5 years of nondisabled life or 10 years with quadriplegia, then they are, in effect, assessing life with quadriplegia as half as good as nondisabled life. (These are hypothetical figures, chosen to keep the math simple, and not based on any actual surveys.)

Put this in the New York Times? Get the idea out there that we’re worth less? My problem with this is that the idea is now out there. Pandora’s box has come open, and some able now get to nod in agreement over their orange juice.

But the few, the invisible, the ones with (gasp!) quality of life, understandably hold a different view.

Disability advocates might argue that such judgments, made by people without disabilities, merely reflect the ignorance and prejudice of people without disabilities when they think about people with disabilities. We should, they will very reasonably say, ask quadriplegics themselves to evaluate life with quadriplegia. If we do that, and we find that quadriplegics would not give up even one year of life as a quadriplegic in order to have their disability cured, then the QALY method does not justify giving preference to procedures that extend the lives of people without disabilities over procedures that extend the lives of people with disabilities.

Yes, we might. We just might.

This method of preserving our belief that everyone has an equal right to life is, however, a double-edged sword. If life with quadriplegia is as good as life without it, there is no health benefit to be gained by curing it.

He’s not talking about the Pro-lifers…it’s a different sort of right.

But, Mr. Singer (she said as the student at the feet of the Idiot Who Poses as a Wise Academic)

Have you, in your well known, vaunted, academic career ever come across such a thing as nuance?

Here, Let me demonstrate.

The disability community does not sit around and wait for cures in our day to day living because there is life to be lived, words to be said things to get done. We are not the perpetually abandoned prom date. We don’t need a cure to be valuable human beings. However if we and our allies choose to be a part of some of the many advocacy organizations and docs and scientists out there come up with a treatment or cure that would ameliorate some or all of the impairment…some of us may try it and benefit from it, and that is a good as well. We live lives as paras, quads, other kinds of gimps, etc, live life as it is given to us, and by that, demonstrate its value. And, I despise Mr. Singer, your particular brand of free speech, to even begin to let seep into the watertable of our minds that my life is only worth half of yours. The healthcare debate is one we have to have. But not in this sick little corner. Not with this man. Not me. I know my value, and you haven’t got a ****ing clue what it is Mr. Singer.

Update: Now, this would actually be fascinating if his philosophy didn’t remain so repugnant.

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So much has been written

January 27, 2009 at 10:29 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

about the piece remembering Harriet McBride Johnson, written by, of all people, Peter Singer…

Peter Singer, the academic who believes that parents, in some cases, ought to be able to decide to kill seriously disabled infants.

I’m not dehumanizing Singer…It’s obvious he eats drinks speaks and writes. So he is just another person. Not a saint, not a monster.

It’s his *ideas* not his person, that I take issue with

It’s these sorts of positions that make me glad I’m a throwback, a cavewoman in the modern world…

Opposing the acceptance of the idea that it’s really not always a bad thing to kill a disabled child…is important to do verbally and in writing and ASL and wordboarding….etc. as often as possible.

This idea is inimical to our very existence. Don’t hand me that business that since I’m now adult and sentient and obviously connecting to the world and enjoying some of my life, it shouldn’t matter to me that Singer seems to advocate killing infants before they achieve self awareness…

Has Singer ever met any disabled children? Has he seen them participate in athletics and the arts? Write? Sing? Do standup comedy? Excell in school? end up living on their own?

One of his arguments seems to have been that if a disabled child cannot romp on the beach the way others might, why should we condemn them to a life of wishing? Preempt that by his method.

*All* children are sometimes the odd one out, and gaze in misery at those that seem to manuever unscathed and perfect through childhood.

But, ever been to a high school reunion? Some of the Perfect Girls and Boys come to a sad and miserable adulthood.

Should we kill them at birth too, if some marker indicates they’ll end up miserable? Of. Course. Not.

There are horrid stories of institutionalization and abuse and neglect and even murder of disabled people.

None of them are a reason to figure killing disabled infants is ok.

That adult life, that Singer credited McBryde-Johnson with…

Can be the realized life of many many disabled-even severely disabled infants or children.

The potential for a rich life like that *outweighs* the potential challenges or even misery….

Preemptive strikes are not the answer. Letting us have a whole beginning, middle and end to our own journey….

Is the beginning of disability rights.

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