A child forever

If you have not heard the story of the family with the severely disabled 9-year old daughter who has given her a series of medical treatments and surgery so that she will stay permanently a child (in the physical sense), it is really quite fascinating and certainly raises a host of ethical questions.  Basically, their daughter Ashley has the brain and physical abilities of roughly a 3-month old baby with no hope of improvement.  In order to improve her quality of life, the parents believed, and a hospital ethics board agreed, that Ashley would benefit from keeping a permanently small stature and not undergoing the physical maturation that goes along with becoming a woman.   I originally heard the story on NPR and you have to be little creeped out by the idea of making a person a permanent child, whatever their disability may be.  Today, I checked out the parents' website and have to say, they make a pretty compelling case.  Personally, I think it is hard to judge anybody in a situation like this till you have walked a mile in their shoes.  I don't think I would do this for my own child, but I am not sure that this family should be condemned for doing so.  But maybe they should be.  I think it will be quite interesting to see if this becomes a trend.  

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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