A new form of "preventing deformity"

Apparently, a new trend in “preventing deformity” is to stop the natural growth of children with developmental disabilities. It’s been hit in a few Catholic blogs already.

Of course, one of my major objectives is to make the point that disabled people should be free to live as “normally” as possible, even if we require more work to get there.

It’s also to argue that we can’t “prevent” bad things from happening. Life stinks. There are certain things we can do in certain situations to prevent problems, but if we always live our lives “preventing”, that leads to misery. I see it so often. I am so sick of people telling me, “You can’t do that because of X” (whether X is financial, physical, whatever).

Some risks are worth taking in order to have a full life.

A lot of Marfan parents use growth-retarding hormones, particularly on girls, to at least save them some of the social stigma of being too tall, and hopefully to prevent some of the manifestations of Marfan from being as severe. Even that has struck me as far too Frankensteinish.

Lastly, our society increasingly sees children as toys. I see it in how my children are treated by the extended family on both sides. Buy them lots of stuff to see them open their presents. Beg for them to visit “so we can see the kids.” Then when they actually act like kids, throw a fit that they’re not behaving properly. Then complain that they have too many toys lying around. Do whatever you want to in their presence without thought to how it might effect them emotionally or spiritually.

3 responses to “A new form of "preventing deformity"

  1. Joy Schoenberger

    Here’s a (London) Times story about it:

  2. I suppose the growth hormone stuff is like any other medical treatment — in every individual case, parents have to carefully weigh the risks and the benefits, as well as examine their reasons for wanting their children to undergo it.

    As you know, my personal views are very different from yours (I`m a contracepting, feminist, working-outside-the-home mother, married to a Japanese Buddhist who actively opposes all things Christian every chance he gets), but I agree with your last paragraph 100%. You just described both sets of my kids` grandparents — including the Japanese family, suggesting the phenomenon of “children as toys” isn`t just limited to the western world.
    It`s as if they`ve forgotten that kids are small people, and want them to be small trained dogs.

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