Can Disability be an Excuse for Being Indifferent to Parent's Rights?

by Anne Trueman on  January 18, 2013 at 1:13 PM Health Watch
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It is heart rending to see how disabled parents are treated in our social framework; they often lose their right to parenthood.

The 445 page report issued by National Council on Disability revealed the miserable plight of the disabled parents.
Can Disability be an Excuse for Being Indifferent to Parent's Rights?
Can Disability be an Excuse for Being Indifferent to Parent's Rights?

In the United States, nearly 1 out of 10 kids have a disabled parent. Out of these parents, around 4.1 million had kids below the age of 18 years. People in general believe that individuals with physical or mental disabilities should not raise kids or should be denied of parenthood.

Robyn Powell, an Attorney at the Council has arthrogryposis, a disease affecting muscles and joints and impairs normal activities.

Powell is confined to a wheelchair and at the age of 31; she is childless.

Despite her intense desire to bear kids, the doctors have advised her not to have children. Robyn Powell said, "I have been offered a hysterectomy more times than I can count," says Powell. "It's like they're doing me a favor. I say, I think I'm going to need my uterus. But society as a whole views people with disabilities as incapable of raising kids."

According to the report by "Rocking the Cradle", an organization aimed at protecting the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children, it was noted that parents with disabilities are widely discriminated as far as family laws, child welfare, child adoption and infertility treatment are concerned.

An astonishing fact was highlighted by Powell, who mentioned that disabled individuals are more adaptable naturally and they have an upper edge if given a chance to raise children.

In spite of the initiatives taken by the US Congress by passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 to safeguard the rights of disabled parents, no significant change has been noticed in the predicament of disabled parents.

The rate of termination and separation of parenthood is 80 percent in disabled children.

Ari Ne'eman, the famous autism-rights activist mentioned, "Parents with disabilities continue to be the only distinct community that has to fight to retain — and sometimes gain — custody of their own children."

It is seen that besides disabilities, sickness is also an important reason for losing legal cases as far as custody of children is concerned. Alaina Giordano, a N.C. mother lost her legal battle for possession of child custody due to her illness. 

A positive change and appreciation for the efforts are the need of the time.

Robyn Powell said, "We need to shift the presumption that people with disabilities are unfit to raise families. We need to assume they are capable and we need to support them."

Source: Medindia

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