Ashley X is a little girl whose parents thought her growing size made her disability a greater burden. Usually a child maturing and growing into puberty is looked forward to with happy anticipation. But Ashley X’s parents thought a bigger body brought with it greater difficulty in managing her care and her sexuality would make her ripe for abuse. Instead of facing those challenges head-on her family petitioned a hospital successfully to have her breast buds removed, her growth stunted, and her uterus removed.
The horror of this hasn’t diminished. Even though the hospital was strongly criticized for approving these procedures bypassing their legal responsibilities, nothing really happened but a strong slap on the wrist.
The Inclusion Daily Express recalled a news story they published four years ago today entitled US and UK Advocates Protest Ashley’s treatment. In it, it references “A Statement of Solidarity for the Dignity of People With Disabilities: A Reaction to the ‘Ashley Treatment” which is a mission I started and is still alive today. It begins “We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, are in agreement that the growth attenuation therapy administered to the little girl known as Ashley is an affront to her human dignity, and to that of all people with disabilities.” You can still sign on today. It is still an important message to send.