Engaging in sex, becoming parents, raising children: these are among the most personal decisions we make, and for people with mental retardation, these decisions are consistently challenged, regulated, and outlawed. This book is a comprehensive study of the American legal doctrines and social policies, past and present, that have governed procreation and parenting by persons with mental retardation. It argues persuasively that people with retardation should have legal authority to make their own decisions.
Despite the progress of the normalization movement, which has moved so many people with mental retardation into the mainstream since the 1960s, negative myths about reproduction and child rearing among this population persist. Martha Field and Valerie Sanchez trace these prejudices to the eugenics movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They show how misperceptions have led to inconsistent and discriminatory outcomes when third parties seek to make birth control or parenting decisions for people with mental retardation. They also explore the effect of these decisions on those they purport to protect. Detailed, thorough, and just, their book is a sustained argument for reform of the legal practices and social policies it describes.
A comprehensive examination of the reproductive and parental rights of mentally retarded citizens. After presenting an overview of mental retardation and of relevant public policy and case law, the authors detail current debates about procreation and parenting among the mentally retarded and put forth proposals to reform the existing system...An important resource for legal and medical professionals, care givers, educators, and social service providers.
A major contribution to the scholarly literature on discrimination and on civil rights and liberties.
This book presents an analysis of past and present legal doctrines and policies regarding the reproductive rights of individuals with intellectual disabilities and it recommends a number of reforms I certainly hope that it will be read by attorneys and judges involved in family law and child protection, and that it will be included in the curriculum of law schools. As the Custody Specialist at the National Resource Center for Parents with Disabilities, it provides me with a useful historical and conceptual framework, helps locate legal precedents relevant to particular cases, and offers analyses that can contribute to improved public policy and practice.
- 464 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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