Special Issue on Disability
The articles in this special issue on disability demonstrate the importance of attending closely to the experiences of individuals with disabilities in making decisions whether to use medical, psychological, or social interventions that may affect the person’s identity and alter subsequent experiences. Though each article focuses on the problems or merits of different types of interventions—cochlear implants, surrogate partner therapy (SPT), and growth attenuation—all of the articles draw the reader’s attention to the need to reconsider the medical model of disability and attend to the potentially corrective value of the social (or psychosocial) model of disability. More...
Sexual Intimacy, Social Justice, and Severe Disabilities: Should Fair Equality of Opportunity in Health Extend to Surrogate Partner Therapy?
Kevin Todd Mintz
In “On Seeing a Sex Surrogate”, Mark O’Brien, a journalist with polio, describes losing his virginity. O’Brien experienced total paralysis, spending most of his days in an iron lung. This made sex difficult, so he underwent Surrogate Partner Therapy (SPT). During his treatment, O’Brien had sex with a “surrogate partner” with sexological training, who provided him with tools to acquire a positive perception of his sexuality (O’Brien 1990). O’Brien’s treatment became the subject of the 2012 film, The Sessions. More...
Cynthia M. Jones and Shawn P. Saladin
As we exist in a world of ever-increasing technological advances, perhaps it should have been expected that we would reach a point where we would want to repair all broken people and fix all those who deviate from the norm. To be honest, the drive to normalize people to fit with expected archetypes existed far before modern medicine and advanced technologies gave us the means to alter people in the profound ways we now have at our disposal. More...
Scrutinizing Ashley X: Presumed Medical “Solutions” vs. Real Social Adaptation
William J. Peace and Claire Roy
At the end of 2006 Daniel Gunther and Douglas Diekema published “Attenuating Growth in Children with Profound Developmental Disability: A New Approach to an Old Dilemma” in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine that caused a storm of controversy. Ill prepared for the spotlight and intense media interest, Ashley X’s parents complicated matters in January of 2007 by posting a blog about their daughter and children like her deemed “pillow angels”. More...
Other Recent Articles
The U.S. academic research community was forced to address issues relating to the responsible conduct of research (RCR) in the late 1980s in response to numerous allegations of falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism (FFP) in federally funded research projects (Wheeler 1991). The first document to formally address issues of RCR, give guidelines defining research misconduct, and provide recommendations for how to establish institutional practices protecting against falsification of the research record was the 1992 report Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process published by the National Academies (NAS 1992). More...
Selected articles are available at the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature.
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