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Word choice matters

Fdaniel's picture

After reading Rose Marie Garland-Thomson's article I was left disturbed and confused about the comments/ points she makes in her paper, especially, the point about genocide. Using the word genocide seems completely wrong to me, it has such a negative connotation to it. I remember a very long time ago I was having a conversation with my boyfriend's cousin about abortion. He was arguing with me that abortion was wrong and women shouldn't be so cruel. He then proceeded to call me a "supporter of murder." Thompson's comment about aborting disabled children as genocide reminded me of his insult. In my opinion, Abortion is a choice, its not murder, its not genocide, its a choice that results in discontinuing a pregnancy. Women shouldn't be harassed because they made a decision about their body. It's their body and they’re the only ones that can make a valid decision about it. In relation to Thompson's comment, I’ve been contemplating on how I feel about aborting disabled children as a negative thing. Women make that decision because they don’t want their children to suffer or endure any more pain then this world already exhibits on them for just being who they are. The idea of keeping a disabled child seems selfish to me. Being that the mother is aware that their child will go through pain and decides to let them endure it. Or if the mother can't afford to take care of their child adequately is it still fair for her to have this child? The idea of choice is very powerful and shouldn't be characterized as murder or be associated with anything negative. Which is why Thompson's comment about aborting disabled babies being genocide is completely one sided and insensitive. I don't think anyone's goal is to be disabled in life. It's not something desired. That is why modern medicine is striving to make sure there are no more disabled children. Is that really genocide?  However, if it does happen we as a society needs to work on making our crazy world accessible to all. 


Anne Dalke's picture

if you'd like to learn more about

...where disability activists like Rosemarie Garland-Thomson are coming from, read this article on Disability Rights and Selective Abortion; it does a pretty good job of explaining why people with disabilities are vehemently opposed to selective abortion of fetuses with various disabilities. If you get interested in this line of thinking, then also check out the work of Not Dead Yet, another grassroots disability rights group that opposes the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as discriminating against old, ill and disabled people whose lives are seen as worthless....