Nearly 100 families in Europe and the United States have opted for a controversial procedure known as "Ashley Treatment" in order to forever limit the growth of their severely disabled children.
The treatment was first made public five years ago when doctors conducted a series of treatments on a 9-year old girl, Ashley who was mentally disabled. Ashley's parents said that they opted to limit the growth of their girl in order to spare her from the discomfort of puberty and adulthood as her mental condition was equivalent of a 3-month old without any hope for improvement.
Now it has been revealed that at least 12 families have also opted for a similar treatment with the number likely to be nearing a hundred. Critics of the procedure initially slammed the parents, claiming that it was not in the best interest of Ashley.
Her father, identified only as AD, dismissed the criticism and said that he and his wife made the right decision and it was more likely that Ashley was happy because of it and her life is as good as they could possibly make it.
However Curt Decker, director of the National Disability Rights Network, said that the treatment was in violation of the civil rights of individuals and warned, "Parents have rationalised that this is an OK thing to do but it treats people as though they have no worth and that's a slippery slope that could end with the idea that people with disabilities don't have to be kept alive or integrated in society."