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Saxton, Marsha. “Disability Rights and Selective Abortion,” n.d.


This article tackles difficult questions surrounding pre-natal testing and selective abortions based on the disabilities of a fetus. Written by a disability rights activist, the article takes a critical stance against the widespread practice of testing for disabilities and the justification for aborting fetuses because they are labeled as “defective.” She argues that although at this point women should still have the legal choice to abort a fetus because of a disability, the reproductive justice movement should consider the social pressures on women to test for disabilities and then abort if the fetus is found to have a disability. The author explicitly states that she comes from a place of “pro-choice,” but she also identifies how the feminist movement of abortion activists have neglected or outright avoided inclusion and consideration of the disability community. Sexton ties prenatal testing and the aborting of fetuses with disabilities to the eugenics used during the birth control movement. She validates the lives of disabled persons, discussing how their happiness and sexuality is denied, creating the idea that their lives are not worth living. This is then tied to the social pressures on women to make a particular choice when it comes to fetuses labeled as “defective” and argues that there should be an intersectional approach to feminism and disability rights around this issue. While appreciating the importance of access to safe and legal abortion, the author complicates this position with the rights of the disability community to not be socially engineered out of existence and further devalued in the process. The article is a clear and concise read for anyone who’s looking to explore the intersections of a women’s right to choose and the disability rights movement. At ten pages this article covers a lot of material in an easy to understand manner, switching between objective examinations of facts and history and personal reflections on what it means to be disabled and pro-choice.  


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Disability justice   Abortion   Eugenics