Seat at the Round Table

Disabled people aren’t a reason to ban abortions

The year is 2022 but instead of traveling through space aboard spaceships similar to USS Enterprise we are living the Handmaid’s tale. 

The US Supreme court is likely to overturn Roe v Wade case law which would technically ban abortion in the United States. 

Why do I care about what is happening in the US, you ask? I don’t know, maybe because actual people live there? People who are going to suffer horribly as a result of their reproductive rights being taken away. 

Plus it is not like this is only happening in America. In Slovak parliament there is a new legislation seeking to ban or restrict access to abortion proposed aproximately every six months.The two latest ones were calling for a ban on abortions for foreigners to stop refugees from Ukraine who were sexually assulted from getting one. Yes, you read that right. 

Disabled people are people not arguments 

There is a lot of reasons why banning access to safe abortion is wrong, but I am not going to list them here. If you didn’t hear them already, you should have no problem looking them up. The reason why I want to talk about this today is that there is one group that did not get a chance to speak in this “debate” – disabled people.   

“What do you mean? When people are discussing abortions disability comes up constantly!” You are right, people on both sides have been using disability to support their position for a long time. They just forgot to include actual disabled people.  

“But how can you be pro-choice when you are disabled? Do you want all the mothers to kill their babies just because they are going to be disabled?” 

There is so much wrong with your questions that I don’t even know where to start. First and foremost abortion isn’t murder. Most people have an abortion in the first trimester when there is no baby to speak of just a clump of cells. Late abortions do happen only in cases when the life of the person carrying the child is in danger or the child would die right after being born. So the question isn’t whether or not we are going to save the baby but whether or not we are going to save it from suffering.   

Born to inspire

“What about women who decide to get an abortion because they don’t want to have a disabled child, then?” Cis women aren’t the only ones getting abortions. Trans men and non-binary people  could experience an unwanted pregnancy, too. If a person is pregnant and doesn’t want to be pregnant anymore, they don’t need to justify that choice. That being said, if a person decides they don’t want to have a disabled child because they are worried about what life their child would have, we need to address that. The correct reaction here isn’t to ban abortion or to guilt the person into having a disabled child. The correct reaction is to get rid of ableism. Being disabled doesn’t lower our quality of life, ableism does. With access to adequate healthcare, education, employment and other support we need our lives will be the same as yours. 

 I am glad to hear that you care about disabled kids so much! And since you care so much, you must be campaigning for the debarierization of all the public spaces, right? No? What about accessible housing? No? Are you demanding inclusion in schools? No? You surely call for raising the carer allowance and the wages of personal assistants and all the disability related benefits, right? No? What about free mobility aids and adaptive technology to all the people who need them? Access to higher education, employment and independent living? Harsher penalties for discrimination and hate crimes? Also no? Have you adopted a disabled child? No? You are still wearing a mask to protect disabled people, right? Masks are too uncomfortable? I see.  

 You haven’t done anything to improve the lives of disabled people? So how exactly do you care about us? 

During one of the debates about abortion that aired on the slovak equvivalent of BBC a member of the audience asked if by abortion being legal society does not rob itself of Down’s babies. FYI that term is a slur, the correct way to say it would be babies with Down’s syndrome. But I guess that the person who asked that question did not care much about inclusive language since they continued to say that Down’s babies are lights that could enrich the life of able-bodied people. They were not advocating for lives and rights of disabled people, they were advocating for the right of able-bodied people to be inspired by disabled babies.This ableist phenomenon is called Inspiration porn and I am probably going to write about it later so if you want to learn more about that follow this blog.   

Let me get something straight: Access to abortions is a reproductive rights issue not a disability issue. Disabled people could be for or against abortions but we should not be used as a justification to ban abortion especially since the people who pretend to care so much about disabled babies do not give a damn about disabled adults. 

No to reproductive rights, yes to eugenics

Access to abortion is healthcare and disabled people need it, too. Yes disabled people do have sex and that sex could sometimes result in an unwanted pregnacy. Some disabled people do want a child and some don’t. Their reasons for not wanting a child are none of your business. 

“What are you saying, you won’t have a problem with a disabled person getting abortion? And why is that?” 

“Well because their child is likely to be disabled, too.” Aha, so you aren’t so adamant about disabled babies being born if they would have a disabled parent, I see. 

“You said that abortion is healthcare!” I did and it is but giving access to abortion only to disabled people isn’t healthcare, that’s eugenics. 

“But they won’t be able to take care of the child!” You are once again wrong. (We’ve been over this in my last article: ableist statements = incorrect statements). Disabled parents are very much capable of taking care of their own children. A disabled parent is as good as a nondisabled one and they could even be better equipped to care for a disabled child because they could have a deeper understanding of their needs and they are less likely to be ableist. Now I am NOT saying that able-bodied parents do not understand their disabled children or are automatically ableists. I am just saying that the lived experience of a disabled parent could be a great advantage when parenting a disabled child. 

“But they won’t be able to take care of their baby without help!” Nor are non-disabled parents. To take care of your child you need help from pediatricians, teachers, babysitters etc. Society provides you with that help and should do the same for disabled parents.

So in conclusion if you truly care about the lives of disabled babies, stay out of other people’s uteruses and start creating a world in which disabled people could actually live after they are born.  

Follow me on social media or share this article

Why are employers missing out when they don't hire disabled people?
I am disabled not inspirational

I am an activist with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. I am disabled and queer. On this blog you will find out why I am unapologetically proud to be both despite our society telling me that I should be ashamed.

1 Comment

I am an activist with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. I am disabled and queer. On this blog you will find out why I am unapologetically proud to be both despite our society telling me that I should be ashamed.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *