Reproductive rights: what do they mean for disabled women?

I’ve just received a great write up on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists event that I attended at the end of June. My comments in the group discussion were noted in it, and the discussion it prompted was captured far better than I was able to myself.

“Another attendee of the conference spoke about being on the autism spectrum and the way in
which for some ASD women, having children may exacerbate disability in the sense that a condition
such as sensory overload may heighten. She asked the panel about their knowledge of experiences such
as the one she described. Dr Frances Ryan responded and emphasised the need to increase awareness
about the varied birth experiences of disabled women, including those of women who are susceptible
to sensory overload and similar conditions. Women’s disabilities may deeply impact the quality of their
birth experience itself, and scholars as well as medical professionals need to be more attuned to that.

Professor Claire de Than contributed to the discussion, noting the need to re-evaluate disability
equality documents. Often, many of the assumptions in such documents need to be critically assessed
and challenged. They are written for people with disabilities by people without them, and so need to
be constantly challenged in light of that fact. Eleanor Lisney agreed with Professor de Than and
additionally noted, in response to the attendee’s comments about ASD women, that when thinking
about disabled women in the reproductive rights space there is frequently too much focus on physical
disabilities in particular, at the expense of recognizing the experiences of women with other types of
disabilities as well.”

The full PDF review is available if you would like to get a complete summary of this thought provoking event: reproductive-rights-and-disability-event-write-up-final

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