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Ableism K

I negate the resolved: Adolescents ought to have the right to make

autonomous medical decisions

A. Link: My opponents case is dependent on an ableist mindset

1) Viewing medical autonomy as a right perpetrates that the normal
body is an ideal body.

Wolbring 12:
From: Asian Bioethics Review
Volume 4, Issue 4, December 2012
Gregor Wolbring. I am a ability governance researcher, a health researcher, a vari-ability//ability/disability studies scholar, a governance of science and
technology researcher, a bioethicist and a biochemist.

Nearly every issue that arises in ethics including, but not exclusively, end-oflife decision-making; the allocation of healthcare resources; the use of
genetic technology (gene therapy, genetic testing); research on individuals who are not
competent; questions of futile care; selective non-treatment of newborns; debates about personhood; mercy killing and disability adjusted life
years; nanotechnology; bionics; and info ethics affects disabled people
e, their self-perception and how they are perceived by others . Certain
ethical principles examine, and exemplify certain abilities are put forward time after time ,
namely the principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. However, these principles are

often interpreted differently by different social groups based on their different ability preferences and ability expectations. For example, whether one follows
an ableism that favours species-typical body abilities 41versus an ableism that cherishes body ability diversity leads to different thoughts and actions related
to the principles. Given this, the question arises over whose interpretation is visible in the discourses around ethics and which of the two forms of ableisms?

ableism that adheres to species-typical functioning is dominant within ethics

discourses (which does not mean that there are no people within ethics discourses that question the species-typical form of ableism).
The idea promoted by disabled people that they do not have to
be species-typical is often questioned by bioethicists (e.g. see discussion
between Harris questioning it and Koch and Reindall defending it).
That was one reason why a
disabled [End Page 296] people rights approach to ethics emerged and continues to
I submit that the form of

40 ,42


43 ,48 51

be important. Which abilities are seen as essential in a discourse, and what forms of ableism are exhibited, does not only impact disabled people.

When the affirmative views expanding access to medical autonomy as a moral goal,
it assumes that it ought to be a goal to improve ones functionality, which
perpetrates ableist views.
2) The concept of autonomy that the aff replicates creates a
destructive dichotomy between autonomous and nonautonomous.
Placing value on autonomy devalues those who are seen as

Secker 99
Barbara Secker, Associate Director of Education and Practice at the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics, 1999 (The Appearance of Kants Deontology in
Contemporary Kantianism: Concepts of Patient Autonomy in Bioethics, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 1999, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 436, Published by Swets &
Zeitlinger, Available online at, Accessed 08-15-15) JaL

My second concern is that Kantian autonomy

appears to place a moral premium on

independence. The corresponding normative assumptions about the nature of
human capacities and interaction may contribute to the devaluing of those
patients who may be dependent and vulnerable. As Alastair Campbell
explains, if autonomy is morally valuable, and if autonomy is equated with
independence, then dependence is regarded as morally
inadequate and, consequently, those who are dependent are devalued
(Campbell, 1991). In Campbells words, the result is that: the chronically dependent
become a special problem, an embarrassment to the dominant moral
value. Fragility and vulnerability, rather than being seen as appropriate parts of life from
the cradle to the grave, become obstacles to be overcome by the self-sufficient
man or woman. The successful patient is always the one who
transcends the state of patienthood (Campbell, 1991, p. 106). The nature of
patienthood, however, is partially characterized by dependency of one kind or
another; thus, the over-valuing of autonomy as independence devalues
patients who require and accept help, those who are unable to transcend
their patienthood. This individualistic attitude also may threaten
the welfare of persons who require help but do not seek it or
accept it when it is offered for fear of the stigma attached to being
nonautonomous. George Agich observes that this view of autonomy as
independence has engendered certain defences against dependency
a denial of need, hostility toward helpers even in the face of
disabilities that require assistance from others, contempt for the
real or imagined weakness of others, and so on (Agich, 1990, pp. 1213).
3) Expanding autonomous medical choice expands obligation to fix the self
Wolbring 2:
the ability expectation of species-typical body abilities and an ableism that favours
was highly visible within society and led the
disabled people rights movement to coin the term ableism in the first place. Various Supreme Court decisions
in the USA highlight the obligation of people with disabilities to fix
themselves if such a fix is available. If they choose not to do so, they lose their protection under the
American with Disability Act.
The obligation to fulfil species-typical ability
expectations is everywhere. The question is who pays for the fulfilment of such obligation? The people who are seen
For the longest time,

species-typical over as sub species-typical perceived body abilities

52 53

to have the obligation to modify themselves or the entities who believe the people have the obligation?

B. Impact
The negative social view of the impaired impact all of society, causing it to
recreate an ethic of exclusion Barnes 921
the vast majority of information about
disability in the mass media is extremely negative. Disabling
This section has demonstrated how

1 Barnes, 1992. Colin Barnes, Professor of Disability Studies in the School of

Social and Health Sciences Halmstad University, 1992, DISABLING IMAGERY

stereotypes which medicalise, patronise, criminalise and

dehumanise disabled people abound in books, films, on television, and in the press. They
form the bed-rock on which the attitudes towards, assumptions and about and expectations of disabled people

They are fundamental to the discrimination and exploitation which

disabled people encounter daily, and contribute significantly to
their systematic exclusion from mainstream community life. It is
are based.

also clear that recent attempts by some elements in the media to remedy the situation and 'normalise' disabled

The only solution with any hope of

success is for all media organisations to provide the kind of information and imagery
which; firstly, acknowledges and explores the complexity of the experience of disability and a disabled
identity and; secondly, facilitates the meaningful integration of all
disabled people into the mainstream economic and social life
of the community. Failure to adopt such an approach has
important implications for both disabled people and society as
a whole. At present around twelve per cent of Britain's population are disabled people. It is highly likely
people will only partly resolve the problem.

that this figure will increase dramatically in the next few years due to several factors including medical
advances and an ageing population - the likelihood of acquiring an impairment increases significantly with
age. Disablism in the media is no longer simply morally and socially reprehensible it is economically inept.

Ableism controls the internal link to all forms of oppression
Siebers 10 . First, despite my statement that disability now serves as the master trope of human
disqualification, it is not a matter of reducing other minority identities
to disability identity. Rather, it is a matter of understanding the work done by disability in oppressive systems. In disability
oppression, the physical and mental properties of the body are socially
constructed as disqualifying defects, but this specific type of social construction happens to be integral at the present
moment to the symbolic requirements of oppression in general. In every oppressive system of our day, I want to claim, the
oppressed identity is represented in some way as disabled, and although it is hard to understand, the same
process obtains when disability is the oppressed identity. Racism disqualifies on the basis of race, providing justification for the inferiority of certain skin colors, bloodlines, and

disqualifies on the basis of family lineage and socioeconomic power as proof of
inferior genealogical status. Ableism disqualifies on the basis of mental and physical differences, first selecting and then stigmatizing
physical features. Sexism disqualifies on the basis of sex/gender as a direct representation of mental and physical inferiority.

them as disabilities. The oppressive system occults in each case the fact that the disqualified identity is socially constructed, a mere convention, representing signs of

As racism, sexism, and classism fall away

slowly as justifications for human inferiorityand the critiques of these prejudices prove powerful examples of
how to fight oppressionthe prejudice against disability remains in full force, providing
seemingly credible reasons for the belief in human inferiority and the
oppressive systems built upon it. This usage will continue, I expect, until we reach a
historical moment when we know as much about the social construction of disability as we now
know about the social construction of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Disability represents at this moment in time the final
frontier of justifiable human inferiority
incompetence, weakness, or inferiority as undeniable facts of nature.

C. Alternative
The alternative is to reject negative views on people with disabilities perpetrated by
species-typical conceptions of autonomy.

Ableism against disabled people (Wolbring, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c) reflects a preference for
species-typical normative abilities leading to the discrimination against the )m
as less able and/or as impaired disabled people (Wolbring, 2004, 2005). This type of ableism is
supported by the medical, deficiency, impairment categorization of
disabled people (medical model) (Wolbring, 2004, 2005). It rejects the variation of
being, biodiversity notion and categorization of disabled people (social model). It leads to the focus on fixing the
person or preventing more of such people being born and ignores the
acceptance and accommodation of such people in their variation of
being (Wolbring, 2005). Ableism has also long been used to justify hierarchies of rights and discrimination between other social groups, and to exclude
people not classified as disabled people.

D. Role of the Ballot

To expose and criticize ableist rhetoric and assumptions in the status quo
ableism[is] as a rhetorical problem for three reasons. First,
the ways of interpreting disability and
assumptions about bodies that produce ableism are learned. The
previous generation teaches it to the next and cultures spread it to each other through modes of
intercultural exchange. Adopting a rhetorical perspective to the problem of ableism thus exposes
the social systems that keep it alive. This informs my second reason for viewing ableism as
rhetoric, as revealing how it thrives suggests ways of curtailing its growth and promoting its demise. Many of the strategies
already adopted by disability rights activists to confront ableism explicitly or
implicitly address it as rhetoric. Public demonstrations, countercultural performances, autobiography, transformative
In this essay I analyze

ableist culture sustains and perpetuates itself via rhetoric;

histories of disability and disabling practices, and critiques of ableist films and novels all apply rhetorical solutions to the problem.

Identifying ableism as rhetoric and exploring its systems dynamic reveals how these
corrective practices work. We can use such information to refine the successful techniques, reinvent those that
fail, and realize new tactics. Third, I contend that any means of challenging ableism must
eventually encounter its rhetorical power. As I explain below, ableism is that
most insidious form of rhetoric that has become reified and so widely
accepted as common sense that it denies its own rhetoricity it "goes without
saying." To fully address it we must name its presence, for cultural assumptions accepted uncritically adopt the mantle of "simple truth" and
become extremely difficult to rebut. As the neologism "ableism" itself testifies, we need new words to reveal the places it resides and new

ableist ways of thinking and interpreting

will operate as the context for making sense of any acts challenging
discrimination, which undermines their impact, reduces their symbolic potential, and can even transform them into superficial
language to describe how it feeds. Without doing so,

measures that give the appearance of change yet elide a recalcitrant ableist system.

Conceptual inquiry is a prerequisite to constructive policy

discussiononly the curriculum we establish can ensure
meaningful political debate turns and outweighs their
policymaking arguments
Kurki 8 Milja Kurki, Lecturer in the Department of International Politics at
Aberystwyth University, 2008 (Introduction: causation and the divided discipline,
Causation in International Relations: Reclaiming Causal Analysis, Published by
Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521882972, p. 8-9)

the approach adopted here is unashamedly theoretical and

philosophical in nature. While philosophical, or meta- theoretical, discussions have
often been subjected to criticism from the more empirically minded IR scholars, in my view philosophical
reflection on the key concepts we use frequently , such as causation, is fundamental in the
social sciences, IR among them. This is because, as Colin Wight puts it, conceptual inquiry is a
necessary prerequisite to empirical research.21 Without an adequate
understanding of the ways in which we apply concepts, appreciation of the
reasons for our conceptual choices, and recognition of the strengths and the
weaknesses [end page 8] that our use of key concepts entail, we run the risk of
conducting empirical studies that we cannot justify or that amount to nothing
more than aimless fact-finding. Also, we risk not being able to understand how
and why our accounts might differ from those of others and, hence, are not able
to engage in constructive debate with other perspectives. This book is motivated by the
belief that IR has not become too theoretical or philosophical at the expense of
empirical inquiry:22 rather it still remains inadequately reflective towards many
fundamental concepts used in empirical analyses . While meta-theoretical, or philosophical, debate is
clearly in and of itself not the sole or the central aim of Inter- national Relations scholarship, it should not be forgotten that the
ways in which we see and analyse the facts of the world political environment
around us are closely linked to the kinds of underlying assumptions we make
about meta-theoretical issues, such as the nature of science and causation. Indeed, the analysis here is motivated
by the belief that whenever we make factual, explanatory or normative judgements about
world political environments, important meta-theoretical filters are at work in
directing the ways in which we talk about the world around us, and these filters are
theoretically, linguistically, methodologically, and also potentially politically
consequential.23 It follows that philosophical investigation of key concepts such as causation
should not be sidelined as hair-splitting or meta-babble,24 but embracedor at
least engaged withas one important aspect of the study of i nternational relations.
It should be noted that

Based on the role of the ballot vote neg because
1) Im promoting discussion and interrogation of ableist rhetoric,
2) The affirmative advocacy causes increased ableism