Monday, October 01, 2007

Frida feminist/disability links #7

In the news and the blogs this week:

In this article titled "Physician-assisted suicide symptom of broken system," disability rights activist Joelle Brouner argues that physician-assisted suicide is less about choice or pain management than power. Also, you can read a commentary on the article by Stephen Drake (Not Dead Yet) here.

Laurel Burch, artist, designer and businesswoman, died on Sept. 13, at the age of 61 from complications of osteopetrosis, a painful disease she had her entire life. A woman with disabilities who lived in pain, Burch said her goal was to pass on joy. In Burch's last years, her disability worsened, and she learned to paint left-handed after breaking her right arm in 2005. Still, she is reported as saying, if she had to choose between good health and her artistic gifts, she would choose her art - "in a second, in a heartbeat." To read more about Burch's life and her art, go here.

In this article in the Journal of Genetic Counseling, titled "What I Wish I Knew Then ... Reflections from Personal Experiences in Counseling about Down Syndrome," Campbell Brasington reflects upon her experiences in counseling about Down syndrome, and how her thinking has changed from a medical model of disability to a more family-focused model. After many conversations with families, she says has come to understand that "children with Down syndrome are more like other children that different," and that "families do and can thrive with a child with Down syndrome."

Read here for David Briggs review of, and recommendation to go see, the exhibit "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race," which traces the rise of the eugenics movement in the early 20th century to its "horrific expression in the genocide committed by Nazi Germany."

The trial of Karen McCarron, who is accused of killing her autistic daughter Katie, who was three years old, has been postphoned. According to her defense attorney Marc Wolfe, the October 1 trial date has been postphoned because his expert medical witness has yet to examine McCarron for a mental evaluation. More details here.

In his BBC Ouch! column this week, Tom Shakespeare focusses on a series of disturbing attacks on people with disabilities and their representation in the media. He discusses the concept of "hate crime" against people with disabilities, and argues that the term is over-dramatic and risks creating unnecessary fear among pwd's. A better term, he believes, is bullying. Other factors that explain the rise in such incidents are the polarisation of society and individualism.