The Left Advocates Discrimination on Basis of Disability

Last week Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed House Enrolled Act 1337 into law. Pro-abortion advocates on the left instantly began howling that Pence, a cold-hearted Republican, is encroaching on women’s rights. However, many of the same advocates refused to acknowledge that the Act forbids discrimination on the basis of disability. Indiana Code 16-31-2-1.1(1)(K) now provides:

That Indiana does not allow a fetus to be aborted solely because of the fetus’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, or diagnosis or any potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.

Those on the left argue that Pence and fellow Republicans are using these protected classes to further their agenda, without actually caring for members of those classes. To their credit, I don’t know that parents traditionally opt for abortion based on factors like ancestry. However, mothers do regularly abort fetuses with diagnosed disability.

The numbers are startling. For example, 87% of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.  Another site puts the number at 92%.  If this is not obvious discrimination against the disability community, I don’t know what is. And I am horrified that local disability organizations are more interested in pushing a liberal agenda then celebrating steps taken by the General Assembly to reject eugenic ideals.

Many expect that the new law will not stand up to judicial scrutiny. We shall see.  But I am jubilant that Indiana, the first state to adopt eugenics laws, is now on the forefront of protecting disabled fetuses. (I’m experiencing a bit of schadenfreude, too, now that liberals have been cornered into choosing which traditional voting block – e.g., fertile women or people with disabilities – to which they will pander.)

Stunting Growth

Earlier this week, the New York Times published a story about the increasing usage of “the Ashley treatment.” Such a procedure is not really “treatment,” at least in terms of ameliorating the symptoms of disease, but instead a variety of medical procedures designed to stunt the growth of children with disabilities. Not only did the eponymous Ashley have her stature permanently reduced; her parents also opted for her to undergo a hysterectomy and removal of her breast buds.

I’m horrified that author Genevieve Field actually asks the titular question: “Should parents of children with severe disabilities be allowed to stop their growth?” The question should not be up for public debate, especially in a supposedly post-eugenic society. Whether or not a child is disabled, that child still has the rights to dignity, bodily integrity, and eventual autonomy.

Parents that have sought out the Ashley treatment – at least 65, according to the Times article – attempt to differentiate their disabled children from non-disabled children. The more sane parents tend to argue that it will be difficult to take care of their children as they age into adult bodies. They believe that keeping their children miniaturized will lead to better care. Yet, does size have more effect on quality of life for the disabled party or the caregiver? I have not seen any studies indicating a correlation between physical size and decreased quality of living. I have, however, witnessed caregivers bitching about having to turn and lift anything lighter than a feather. Thus, it’s hard for me to ignore sinister undertones of selfishness and convenience on the part of decision-making parents.

Remember, I called those the parents on the sane end of the spectrum. At least they are capable of rational thought. Some parents also talk about their desire to keep their children just that – perpetual children. One mother, named Nancy – who, of course, chooses to withhold her last name – told Field, that her daughter “needs to be in our laps for our whole life.” I wouldn’t want to be within 10 feet of a sicko like Nancy!

What happens when Nancy and other parents pass away? Are they so codependent with their children that they will end up murdering the child and committing suicide before natural death can run its course? Hey, growth-attenuation is a pretty big deviation from the moral norm, why not go ahead and commit murder, too?

Instead of focusing on why their children are different, I wish these parents would treat their disabled children as they retreat any other child. Yes, they should be nurtured. But they should also be permitted to grow, physically, as well as intellectually and emotionally.

Wheels on Wheels

When you ask people with disabilities about their number one barrier, transportation is a frequent reply. (More than 500,000 people report never leaving their homes due to lack of transportation. For more on this, and other alarming statistics, look here.) In addition to being an American symbol of freedom, personal vehicles are often necessary to maintain employment, social contact, and good health. Public transportation is not available in rural areas, and even city paratransit services often leave those with disabilities waiting for hours. Although urban millennials have been pushing for more universal public transit, legislatures like my own Indiana General Assembly are stuck in old transportation paradigms.

I am fortunate enough to use an accessible vehicle purchased by my parents, a 1999 Chevy Savana, modified by a previous owner. (See here for a lively visual and rap song.) However, we learned in April 2015 that the van would no longer be insured as of April 2016. Apparently it was too old. Thus began the process of trying to get a new adaptive vehicle.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs exist in every state, a jointly funded state and federal program to help people with disabilities achieve and maintain employment. Where a vehicle is necessary for job success (e.g., one needs a vehicle to drive to work), VR will pay for the cost of vehicle modifications. Unfortunately, VR only purchases the modifications – that is, the lift or ramp, the wheelchair tiedowns, etc. – and the client is responsible for providing the vehicle. Individual VR programs set rules regarding the type of vehicle that they will modify, frequently requiring new or gently-used ones in order to ensure that the modifications will be used for years to come. Effectively, this means that people, who sometimes are not even employed yet, are on the hook to purchase a $30,000 van. Yet, because modifications run upwards of $20,000, going through VR is worth it.

I contacted my local VR office in May 2015 and expressed my desire having my case reopened. The local supervisor stated that a new case would have to be opened, given the expensive nature of my request. Okay… I was then informed that I could get in for an appointment in September, a clear violation of VR regulations. Good thing I’m a lawyer, huh? After some self-advocacy on my part, we finally got the paperwork started.


Today, I finally got my van I named her Clover, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and because I know how lucky I am to have her. I’m grateful for the financial resources to purchase the Dodge Grand Caravan, and for the taxpayer-funded $22,000 in modifications.

I still wonder what happens to people who are looking for jobs and can’t yet afford the price of a modification-ready vehicle. To my knowledge, no private funding sources currently exist. Some public funding is available to veterans, but not the average cripple. Do you have any creative solutions for the funding of accessible vehicle?