The Disability Rights Movement Must Be Pro-Choice

The hardest thing about the current framing of the abortion debate for disability justice advocates is that it forces us to choose between two of our core convictions: Inherent human worth and bodily autonomy. As a disabled person, an asexual non-binary person who was assigned female at birth, and an activist, I hate the ideas and circumstances that have put these principles in opposition to each other. Still, the choice is easy for me to make. My nearly absolute belief in bodily autonomy means nothing if I’d support forcing a person to remain pregnant and give birth against their will for any reason because of my own opposition to eugenics. There’s no question that I, as an autistic person with a cleft lip and palate (among other disabilities), am among the types of disabled people impacted by what’s often referred to as disability-selective abortion. There are ongoing attempts to find a … Continue Reading ››

The Disability Rights Movement Should Be Pro-Life

I was conceived, unplanned, in Soviet occupied Latvia. I am also disabled. When I was born, I was born prematurely. I had deformed feet called "club feet" and I was very small. I was also  born with developmental disabilities. Because I was unwanted I was sent to an institutional orphanage in Riga, the capital of Latvia. I lived there for 5 years, until my American family was able to adopt me. I have lived in America for 23 years now and I love it here! I think of my birth mother a lot. I am thankful she let me live. She did not see my life as a life not worth living. In America, I learned that this is not true for all unwanted and disabled babies. There are pre-natal tests people can take to figure out if they baby is disabled, so parents can make a decision whether to abort … Continue Reading ››

This Week in Neurodiversity

Each Friday at NOSmag, I post some links relevant to neurodiversity news and culture criticism around the web. This is what I’ve been reading and that I think you should be reading too. Feel free to add links of your own in the comments and email suggestions for future link roundups to nos.editorial@gmail.com or Tweet us @NOSeditorial.

What April Should Be

April has become a month of memory even if we don't often talk about it that way. In April, we remember the Autistic community's conflict with Autism Speaks. Four years ago, that struggle was all-consuming. It was impossible not to take a side. For people on the side I chose, neurodiversity, hope for Autistic people as we are, hope for a vibrant, diverse humanity, it was hard to go a day without thinking about what felt like an existential threat. Every day that went by was another day of cure research, another day when resources devoted to cure research weren't used to show the world what we knew: that an Autistic life could be a worthwhile one. Living under that oppressive sense that we were running out of time, that someone was always trying to wipe us out, wore people down. What we did about it wore people down. Exhaustion … Continue Reading ››

William Shatner Doubles Down on Lighting it Up Blue

In Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Barton Fink,” there’s a scene where the title character (John Turturro), a pretentious playwright who’s moved to Hollywood, meets his new neighbor Charlie (John Goodman), an insurance salesman. Fink shares his ambition to tell stories about “the common man,” with Charlie piping up that he could “tell you some stories” several times. Fink doesn’t take the hint, simply steamrolling ahead instead of listening to the guy whose voice he’s supposedly out to capture. It can be a frustratingly similar experience for a member of a marginalized group trying to get a word in edgewise with someone claiming to advocate for you, especially if they’re being less helpful than they imagine they are. It can be mortifying to be told you’re hindering rather than helping, but someone who sincerely cares about their advocacy will make time to listen to those affected by it. And then there’s William Shatner, … Continue Reading ››