The Legal Politics of Growth Attenuation
Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues, Forthcoming
48 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2013 Last revised: 22 Aug 2013
Date Written: March 27, 2013
In this article, we consider the implications of growth attenuation should it ever arise in the Canadian context. While parental autonomy to make crucial health care decisions and exercise control over minors is not a right that should be lightly dismissed, we argue that growth attenuation is entirely inappropriate and should never be regarded as ethically permissible for children. We ground our perspective in the social model of disablement which stands for the proposition that it is structural barriers that are chiefly responsible for the marginalization experienced by people with disabilities in every area of social life including employment, transportation, and housing. Critical disability theory applies the social model to new public policy problems and we regard our intervention as a modest attempt at rethinking a bioethical dilemma through the prism of critical disability theory. We do so through a review of the case law and through a consideration of relevant ethical principles, paying particular attention to the scholarship of Martha Nussbaum’s theories of equality for people with intellectual disabilities.
Keywords: critical disability theory, Ashley treatment, biomedical ethics and disability
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