The Peter Pan Treatment

by SDG

in Current Affairs

A lot of regular JA.O readers may be already aware of this story, as it is all over the blogosphere and has been discussed on Catholic radio. It poses a number of conundrums and ethical snares concerning the proper medical care of disabled people, elective surgery, and other issues.

According to THIS MSNBC ARTICLE, a young girl named Ashley has undergone surgery, hormone treatment and other medical procedures in order to retard her growth – keep her at her present size and weight – so that caring for her will be easier.

In a case fraught with ethical questions, the parents of a severely mentally and physically disabled child have stunted her growth to keep their little “pillow angel” a manageable and more portable size.

The bedridden 9-year-old girl had her uterus and breast tissue removed at a Seattle hospital and received large doses of hormones to halt her growth. She is now 4-foot-5; her parents say she would otherwise probably reach a normal 5-foot-6.

Now, I’m not an expert in anything, so I don’t feel the need to do a whole boatload of commentary on this. I think the ethical concerns are obvious enough to anyone. I would like to see some thoughtful combox rumination on this (hopefully with the input of some medical professionals, students and ethicists), while avoiding the immediate consigning of the parents to an especially toasty corner of Hell in a knee-jerk fashion. Keep in mind that there are many parents who struggle with the issues of caring for their disabled children , even as these children become disabled adults. Keep your dog on a leash, is what I’m sayin’, and talk about the issues, rather than making personal attacks.

My first response to this story was to think about how many times my wife and I, as we watched our little ones sleeping or doing something especially endearing, wished out loud (mostly kidding) that we could "put a brick on their head" and keep them that age forever. Just stop time and keep our babies forever. It’s an impulse I’m sure we share with a lot of parents.

But that is not what kids are made for. Certainly MY OWN kids would be easier to care for if we had somehow halted their growth. Alzheimer’s patients would be less worrisome if we surgically made them all paraplegics. They could not wander off and become a danger to themselves and others, that way.

Another thought (and this is complete speculation) that occurred to me was the possibility that the parents, subconsciously, may fear that caring for their child will be more challenging as she grows, not because she will no longer be small and light, but because she will no longer be cute, cuddly and sympathetic. There can be a certain tenderness, sweetness and even playfulness in changing a baby’s diaper. The experience of changing the diaper of a fully-grown adult is rather short on rewards, unless one possesses a particularly mature and compassionate spirituality. I am not saying this is the case with Ashley’s parents, but the thought does occur that perhaps the greatest issues may be emotional and mental, rather than physical.

Just some thoughts.

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VISIT THE PARENT’S BLOG.

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{ 85 comments }

Ry February 20, 2007 at 10:55 am

My sympathies are with the parents on this one. I find it hard to believe they are trying to do anything other than what they believe is in Ashley’s best interests.
That said, the most troubling aspect of this story is that this procedure will sterilize Ashley. Granted, Ashley never would have grown up to be a sexually active adult anyway. But there does seem to be a slippery slope argument to be made when this case is contrasted with cases where the mentally and/or physically disabled are subjected to forced sterilizations.

CMO February 20, 2007 at 11:01 am

You have two good reasons as to why the parents may have desired to have the procedure done on their child, but on their blog they state:
“A fundamental and universal misconception about the treatment is that it is intended to convenience the caregiver; rather, the central purpose is to improve Ashley’s quality of life.”
They continue to say that “Ashley will be a lot more physically comfortable free of menstrual cramps, free of the discomfort associated with large and fully-developed breasts, and with a smaller, lighter body that is better suited to constant lying down and is easier to be moved around.”
While I feel true sympathy towards Ashley and her parents, I see this argument as one in which suffering is seen as an unnecessary evil. It reminds me of a story I heard where a religious sister was struck (I can’t remember why) as paraplegic and could no longer do anything by herself. She even needed assistance in the form of an abdominal massage whenever it was time for her to make a bowel movement. As the story goes, The sister was not known for the care required of her however but was instead remembered for the smile she had at all times.
The purpose of my telling the story is that while the parents feel they should do everything they can to remove potential discomfort from their child, and rightly so as all parents should, they need also to recognize what blessings from God come in the forms of suffering. I have never learned of any way of “counting the blessings” of suffering but I take from John Paul the Great that it is necessary and unevenly distributed in this world and that those who suffer are blessed.
Just my thoughts.

Tim J. February 20, 2007 at 11:03 am

“My sympathies are with the parents on this one.”
Well, Ry, mine are TOO. I just think their actions are misguided.

Esau February 20, 2007 at 11:11 am

She is only 9 years old.
At that tender age, there is still much development that is occuring and to operate on the assumption that stunting her growth will benefit their daughter is very, very premature, to say the least.
That is, who’s to say that the biological development that normally occurs in children her age would not have actually benefited her?

My Cat's Name Is Lily February 20, 2007 at 11:12 am

I have every sympathy for Ashley’s parents, & am willing to believe that their motives were good.
That said, this whole case is deeply disturbing. It is not always well meaning people who might desire & use this way of making the care of a disabled person a simpler matter. There are many waiting to be able to declare some to be “undermenschen”. (I use the word deliberately).
However well meaning Ashley’s family may be, this opens a Pandora’s box.
One enormous concern is the hormone treatments, knowing what we know about their possible side effects.
I have had, by the bye, the acquaintance, some years ago, with a family who had a simiarly handicapped child. They cared for her right up to the day of her (all too early) death. Perhaps that is why I find this whole story so extremely distressing. I do not, you see, need photos to give Ashley a face. In my mind’s eye, she wears that other child’s face…..

Laura February 20, 2007 at 11:44 am

Speaking as a disabled person, and knowing what my parents went through in bringing me up, I am sympathetic to the parents. My mother told me when she found out I would be blind for life, she would look at flowers or sunsets and just cry, but they raised me as any normal child, right along with my brothers and sister and they will never know how much I appreciate it. However I see her a situation in which they want to change the little girl and as sympathetic as I am to their situation, I can’t help at being a touch offended by that sentiment. I don’t think Ashly should be changed and I haven’t seen any reports suggesting that she would be in, let’s say, miserable pain if she were allowed to grow. I also agree with the above commenter who said that suffering was a blessing. God had a plan for this girl and he still does but her parents have changed that in some fundimental way I just can’t agree with.

Jeff February 20, 2007 at 11:53 am

Alzheimer’s patients would be less worrisome if we surgically made them all paraplegics. They could not wander off and become a danger to themselves and others, that way.
Of course, all children would easier to care for if they did not exist in the first place.
(The preceding sentence is brought to you by the good people at NOW, Planned Parenthood, and the Hillary Clinton campaign)

Fuinseoig February 20, 2007 at 11:54 am

This is tough. What disturbs me the most is the enthusiasm with which medical personnel seem to have accepted this request. It’s almost like they have their own little human test subject to experiment on. I hope I’m reading this wrong, but there doesn’t seem to be any hint of them advising the parents to hold off, or wait a couple of years, or that there could be complications and drawbacks to all this surgery and massive drug dosages.

Ed Peters February 20, 2007 at 12:48 pm
Esau February 20, 2007 at 12:53 pm

The following goes to show that even though parents may be well-intentioned, that doesn’t mean that what they decide to do for what they believe is best for the sake of their child may actually be the right thing to do.
Girl of 14 who was a boy until she was 12
Even at the age of two, Tim insisted he was a girl trapped in a boy’s body.
And when puberty began to approach at the age of 12, he convinced his parents that something had to be done.
With their agreement, he became the youngest sex-change patient in the world, receiving hormone injections which arrested his male development.

Now, at 14, Tim has become Kim – a blue-eyed blonde with a growing bust line who is allowed to wear make-up at weekends.
She has no boyfriends at present but her parents say she is interested in what, now, is the opposite sex.
Her treatment, which has cost £18,000 so far, is being funded by the German taxpayer.
Psychiatrists treating her say she was an ‘exceptional case – a person clearly in the wrong body’, even though the decision to grant her wishes when she was so young is still the subject of intense debate.

For the complete story:Girl of 14 who was a boy until she was 12

Unhappy as a boy, Kim became youngest ever transsexual at 12
A boy of 12 is believed to have become the world’s youngest sex change patient after convincing doctors that he wanted to live the rest of his life as a female.
Tim was diagnosed as a transsexual two years ago, when doctors and psychiatrists concluded that his claims to be “in the wrong body” were so deeply felt that he required treatment. The therapy involves artificially arresting male puberty, with a series of potent hormone injections before the administration of female hormones to initiate the development of features such as breasts.
Now aged 14, and officially registered as a female, Kim looks like a typical girl of her age. She dresses in fashionable clothes, has long blonde hair and blue eyes and dreams of moving to Paris to become a fashion designer. Her parents, who initially assumed their son was going through a temporary phase, eventually grew accustomed to seeing him as a girl.

For the Complete Story:

Unhappy as a boy, Kim became youngest ever transsexual at 12

Sailorette/Foxfier February 20, 2007 at 1:00 pm

Doctors: “Hey, we’ve never tested this growth-stunting theory on a 9 year old– it works on girls in high school who are getting too tall, though! Oh, and let’s make sure that she won’t have ‘that time of month’– horribly nasty, you know. And those boobs, well, they will just make her so uncomfortable and/or invite rape.”
/sarcasm
Sorry, Mr. Akin, that’s about as serious and thoughtful as I can get at the moment. No personal attacks there, but not as rational as I’d prefer.
I can usually see where folks are coming from, in abortion, “right to die” and such– but here, it’s just too big of a gap. What on EARTH were they thinking of, doing this to their DAUGHTER? (The only way I can understand it is if they don’t view her as a daughter– an understandable mental defense, but not something I can understand in my gut.)
If she was a boy, and they did the same sort of thing– cut off the, er, three male bits so that he wouldn’t grow up, and so that diapers would fit better without chafing– I think more folks would be horrified. (Sorry to broadly paint you broadly, guys, but given that hysterectomies are pretty common for medical reasons, but castrations aren’t, and from the reactions of male friends when I talk about castrating calves in the spring– we’d hear a lot more upset folks.)

Esau February 20, 2007 at 1:15 pm

Sailorette:
Unfortunately, some people don’t realize the fact that just because parents may be well-intentioned, that doesn’t necessarily mean that what they believe they’re doing for the sake of their child is actually the right thing to do.
——————————————————————————–
12-year-old ‘transsexual’
given hormone treatment
Tim to Kim: Parents support boy’s choice
to be world’s youngest sex-change patient
——————————————————————————–
A German boy, now 14, is believed to be the youngest patient in the world pursuing gender reassignment after convincing doctors two years ago he wanted to live as a female.
Doctors say the boy, born “Tim,” has considered himself female since he was two.
According to his parents, Tim tried on his older sisters clothes and played with her Barbie dolls, announcing, “I’m a girl.” The boy was distraught after every haircut, they said, and at four, he took a pair of scissors and threatened to “cut off my thing!” After that incident, Tim was called “Kim” by his family.
We always saw Kim as a girl, but not as a problem,” the father, who was not identified, told Der Spiegel. “In fact, our life was surprisingly normal.”
Eventually, the family contacted Dr. Bernd Meyenburg, the head of a clinic for children and adolescents with sexual identity problems at Frankfurt University. He concluded that Kim represented the “rare … clear-cut case” for intervention before puberty initiated irreversible changes to his body.
“It would have been a crime to let her grow up as a man,” Meyenburg said.

For the rest of this story:

Tim to Kim: Parents support boy’s choice
to be world’s youngest sex-change patient

Esau February 20, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Please ignore the awful ads in the link above.
I was attempting to find the original story as heard on the news radio station here but haven’t been able to find the one that sufficiently covered what was actually reported on the radio just last week.

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 1:37 pm

I do not agree with what the parents did to this child. It would seem very selfish for me to think of doing that, although in their situation I might be tempted.
I do know a family who has a severly handicapped daughter. In order for her to go to the special class at school, her mother takes her to get the “shot” to make her periods stop. The school, if she leaks any, freaks out and calls home for them to come and get her. How sad. In this case, the girl is 14 but has the mentality of about a 5 year old. Of course, these shots don’t always work and who knows what she will develop down the road. Of course her parents say it is worth it because she is able to “socialize”. :0(

Easu February 20, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Annoymouse:
I do not agree with what the parents did to this child. It would seem very selfish for me to think of doing that, although in their situation I might be tempted.
Thanks for speaking out your mind about this!
I was tempted to say something similar, but hesitated due to Tim J.’s (understandable) warning in his post as (depending on the manner of post as well as their consequent interpretations) it can become counter-productive to the discussion.
By the way, what’s happened to your Lenten promise?

Tim J. February 20, 2007 at 1:58 pm

Thanks for linking to your piece on this, Ed. I think you are correct, and the more I hear about this the more it becomes apparent that (in spite of their protestations to the contrary) at bottom, this is all about the convenience of the parents.
“Ashley will be a lot more physically comfortable free of menstrual cramps, free of the discomfort associated with large and fully-developed breasts”
An obvious observation is that neither of these stated reasons has anything – at all – to do with this girl’s disabilities.
My daughter would be more comfortable without menstrual cramps, too. Just ask her. And, though I can’t speak from experience, I just don’t see how the mere fact of having breasts could be considered so physically intolerable that it justifies having them removed.
Another milestone for modern, ethics-free technology.
“O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beautious mankind is!
O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!”
Pass the Soma…

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 1:59 pm

This one hits sort of close to home. So I broke my rule.

Esau February 20, 2007 at 2:05 pm

This one hits sort of close to home. So I broke my rule.
I’m GLAD that you did!
Don’t worry; Lent doesn’t officially begin until tomorrow!
God bless!

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 2:07 pm

“My daughter would be more comfortable without menstrual cramps, too. Just ask her”
Tim, one of the only family shows we can watch together is AFV and guess what? At least two times during the show, a commerical will come on for BC and reducing your periods to 3 or so times a year..so freeing … so unnatural.Given that we are fed this garbage I am not surprised by some who would go to extremes. And that is extreme in my book.

Esau February 20, 2007 at 2:14 pm

Plain and simple, the parents brought about the mutilation of their 9-year old child for what some would consider mere convenience.

Tim J. February 20, 2007 at 2:18 pm

“I was tempted to say something similar, but hesitated due to Tim J.’s (understandable) warning in his post…”
Esau, please feel free to “speak your mind” on this… I certainly am. But just venting outrage seems to be the “default” mode on the internet (Amanda Marcotte comes to mind) and I wanted to sort of leap-frog over all that and get to the moral/theological underpinnings.
I’m outraged too, but I don’t see how that changes anything.
It seems like a slam-dunk that this is, as Ed put it, a travesty. But I find a surprising number of people who can’t bring themselves to condemn the idea. Or at least they might say, “Well, I’m personally opposed, but…”.

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 2:25 pm

This is from the site Ed provided:
“Because grave mutilation without therapeutic character is gravely immoral and canonically criminal (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 2297 and 1983 CIC 1397), the Ashley Travesty may not be used by those entrusted with responsibility for the care of God’s most vulnerable children.” Amen Let’s just hope and pray that all in the position of the Church to counsel is on the same page and that those parents who are frustrated go to them for guidance.
Nice to see you too, Esau.

Esau February 20, 2007 at 2:26 pm

Thanks Tim J.
I only held my tongue out of respect for you and, of course, Jimmy (especially after yesterday’s episode).
I hope you continue to post things like this (and, of course, on your favorite topic, “art”; which I hope you will be doing soon as others have likewise requested) as it can be thought-provoking for certain folks who may not really appreciate the gravity of such matters.
God bless you, Tim!

Esau February 20, 2007 at 2:31 pm

THANKS ANNONYMOUSE FOR THIS CITATION!!!
That rightly encapsulates the gist of it!
(I guess this means I need to read Ed’s piece! Great — more stuff to read! j/k)
This is from the site Ed provided:
“Because grave mutilation without therapeutic character is gravely immoral and canonically criminal (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 2297 and 1983 CIC 1397), the Ashley Travesty may not be used by those entrusted with responsibility for the care of God’s most vulnerable children.” Amen Let’s just hope and pray that all in the position of the Church to counsel is on the same page and that those parents who are frustrated go to them for guidance.

John E February 20, 2007 at 2:32 pm

I read this before in Time. The key phrase to me in that article was this:
“Ashley is a brain-damaged girl whose parents feared that as she got bigger, it would be much harder to care for her; so they set out to keep her small. “
Not to place judgement on the parents or excessive reliance on the reporter from Time, but it makes me wonder if the true end of the treatment wasn’t for their own benefit, with some benefits for their daughter as a consequence, or if it truly was for their daughter’s benefit with some benefits as a consequence for the parents.
If CCC 2297 does indeed apply to this case, as it sure seems to, then weighing the consequences doesn’t matter — evil cannot be done so that good may come of it. It would seem that the question hinges on whether the treatment is or is not therapeutic, and I have to lean towards Ed Peters opinion on that question as well.

Esau February 20, 2007 at 2:37 pm

“Not to place judgement on the parents or excessive reliance on the reporter from Time, but it makes me wonder if the true end of the treatment wasn’t for their own benefit, with some benefits for their daughter as a consequence, or if it truly was for their daughter’s benefit with some benefits as a consequence for the parents.
Yes, indeed-y, John E., that is exactly the question!
Nicely put!

Esau February 20, 2007 at 2:41 pm

I can’t help but think that they may have perhaps rationalized what was actually a selfish desire on their part (i.e., a more convenient way to care for their disabled child) and fooled themselves into believing that what they were doing was actually correct and for the sake of their child!

Sailorette/Foxfier February 20, 2007 at 2:43 pm

Oh, speaking as a female: cramping is not that bad– the WORST I’ve had was kinda like eating way too much sugar without anything else, and that happened twice only– and boobs aren’t uncomfortable unless you’re moving around a lot. I’m fairly, er, well endowed, and my sister is *Very* well endowed. Neither of us have any pain unless we’re running, horseriding, or trying to carry large hard loads against our chest. Assuming that the woman in two of the photos is Ashley’s mom, the girl didn’t have much to worry about. (Not meant meanly, since by the build of the family it’d just look silly.)
If you actually have the time to stay in one place, laying down, cramps are very easy to get rid of– a hotpad on the lower belly and laying there for a while. This worked even for my sister, who is one of the unfortunates who gets really bad cramping all the time. (Dietary stuff can also make it better.)
There, now the guys posting here don’t have to put those disclaimers on their posts. *Grin*

John E February 20, 2007 at 2:55 pm

I think Veritatis Splendor, paragraphs 74 and 75 are also useful in analyzing this situation. Veritatis Splendor seems to reject ethical theories that would judge behavior to be “right or wrong according as whether or not it is capable of producing a better state of affairs for all concerned.” (See the rejection of such theories in paragraph 76 and following).

Esau February 20, 2007 at 2:57 pm

I’m fairly, er, well endowed, and my sister is *Very* well endowed. Neither of us have any pain unless we’re running, horseriding, or trying to carry large hard loads against our chest.
Sailorette:
Did you have to provide such a vivid account? I mean, it is Lent!
What was the “Prayer for Purity” again???
“Protect my mind and my will so that all my thoughts and desires will be pleasing to God”? ;^)

John E February 20, 2007 at 3:06 pm

Thanks for the compliment Esau and thanks all for the posts and discussions. I’m giving up all non-essential internet/computer activity until after Easter. As much as I enjoy the blog Jimmy, I have to consider it non-essential. This is really going into the desert for me. Please try not to write anything too interesting until after Easter. 😉

Esau February 20, 2007 at 3:07 pm

I think Veritatis Splendor, paragraphs 74 and 75 are also useful in analyzing this situation. Veritatis Splendor seems to reject ethical theories that would judge behavior to be “right or wrong according as whether or not it is capable of producing a better state of affairs for all concerned.” (See the rejection of such theories in paragraph 76 and following).
John E.:
THANKS!!!
This is yet another great citation as well!
For example:
“These theories can gain a certain persuasive force from their affinity to the scientific mentality…”
“Such theories however are not faithful to the Church’s teaching, when they believe they can justify, as morally good, deliberate choices of kinds of behaviour contrary to the commandments of the divine and natural law.”

Sailorette/Foxfier February 20, 2007 at 3:23 pm

Esau: ;^)

Eileen R February 20, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Sailorette/Foxfier: Speak for yourself about the cramps. They really vary. For me, it’s often crawling across the floor of my room when they hit. A doctor offered the Pill once, and though that would be a legit. usage, since I’m a chaste single and it’d be to treat a medical problem, I decided against it, feeling that it’d be better not to up my risks for various other problems in the long term, as a solution for current pain.

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Actually, Sailorette, I had no problem in that “upper area” till after children and it is only during a certain time, other than menustration. So that would knock this little girl out of that category all together. It is very sad to me.

Sailorette/Foxfier February 20, 2007 at 3:41 pm

Eileen- have you tried the “lay still with a hotpad on the pain” solution? Honestly, there aren’t a lot of women who *can*, but if you’re going to be out of commission either way….

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Eileen, if you go to the CCL website they have some real good material on nutrition and menstrual cycle. Medicine can also affect “us” women.

Eileen R February 20, 2007 at 3:48 pm

Also, Wesley J. Smith has writen an interesting entry on the case in his blog.
http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2007/01/on-keeping-disabled-girl-small.html
Smith’s blog is required reading to keep up with the frightening world of Bioethics.

Eileen R February 20, 2007 at 3:50 pm

Sailorette, yes I have. It sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. But heat is always a good thing, even if it doesn’t work entirely! AnnonyMouse, what’s CCL?

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Eileen, Couple to Couple League http://www.ccli.org/
They help couples understand their own fertility.
They have some good information on their, not just for couples. This book “Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition” I have heard is really good.

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Prosaic stuff can be discussed elsewhere, sil vous plait.

Cheryl S. February 20, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Eileen:
CCL is Couple-to-Couple League.
http://www.ccli.org/

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 4:11 pm

Not that its wrong, just wrong place.

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 4:13 pm

Some Day, Point taken.
But we are discussing a little girl who was mutilated to AVOID these natural things that occur in girls. There is a lot of info out there on how to better care for ourselves. It may mean a change of lifestyle tho.

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 4:16 pm

prosaic
One entry found for prosaic.
pro·sa·ic
Pronunciation: prO-‘zA-ik
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin prosaicus, from Latin prosa prose
1 a : characteristic of prose as distinguished from poetry : FACTUAL b : DULL, UNIMAGINATIVE 2 : EVERYDAY, ORDINARY

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Sure, I definitly see a grave wrong in that mutilation. It is first not helping the natural process, which is a must for medicine to be practiced legitamately.
Second, it is obviously attacking pulchrum,
that is to say beauty, because it is not normal, therefore contrary to the way God envisionss things, to have a person more that a foot smaller than God intended to.
But that doesn’t mean to start a discussion on bodily functions and events.
We are above all, contemplating the moral asspects of this case.

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Okay, what does pulchrum mean? You are bound and determined to ebujacate me, eh?
Um. Maybe we could ask Jimmy to add a post or com box for WOMEN ONLY

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 4:28 pm

If you are thinking you have a vocation to the priesthood, tho, don’t you need to know about some of these things IN CASE you are counseling some people? I think A & P is a pre-requisite.

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 4:28 pm

Prosaic, as you found refers also to the everyday, meaning the everyday things we must face as a consequence of the original sin.
Things that should rarely ever be the topic of conversation, like now.
In essence, every conversation must leave oppertunity to elevate it to higher things, like now, which inevitably ends up talking about God in one way or another.
Get me?

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 4:32 pm

What does the “pulchrum” mean?
And I “gottcha” but I have to say we would leave with differing opinions.

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Like I find it comforting that the lady with “the problem with bleeding” was mentioned in the Bible and that Jesus healed her. That is comforting to me.

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 4:36 pm

Don’t think I am attacking you, please, I don’t know why people take me for a guy with a ruler?
I know biology and anatomy pretty well.
Apart from liking science as a kid, doing sports in school, so read more, and getting A’s in Honors Biology with studing too much, everyone has to go through sexaul education, unfortunately.
And I am not trying to edjumacate you.
Simply doing apostolate, as you are too.
Pulchrum, latin for beauty, is what I believe in english is called an intrancendental.
Beauty, is its real sense, is the reflection of God in creation.
And I would not only speak against this ladies things, but even if we started talking about supplements for weight training.
It is prosaic, mundane and not the object of this post.
Are we ok?

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 4:39 pm

And the woman in the Bible had another problem.
Not the regular course of female biology.
Just know it is the consequence of the original sin, and accepting its unpleasantries will gain you a part of Heaven.

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 4:40 pm

AnnonyMouse,
That is your permanent blog name right?
Never seen anyone else use it.
Just wondering.

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 4:46 pm

AnnonyMouse is mine and I started it when I read that Jimmy didn’t want anyone going as “anonymous”; blank with no name that is. So it was my first time to blog and I chose AnnonyMouse.
Well, I understand what you are saying but unless you were the woman with the problem and had been healed, YOU wouldn’t understand.

Sailorette/Foxfier February 20, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Some Day– it is greatly relevant, seeing as how several men mentioned that they didn’t have first-hand knowledge of one of the reasons given for the mutilation, but they believed X.
The whole thing can be uncomfortable to talk about, but given that it’s a large point, it’s *quite* important to have solid information. If it bothers you to read about various female problems and solutions that have/have not worked, as well as sources for more information that’s deeper in depth, maybe you should avoid posts that are deeply related to said subject?
(Lord knows I have to avoid entire blogs lest my ire grow into a monster.)
The simple, every-day truth of the matter is that a young girl had her uterus and breasts removed and was subjected to hormone doses for the supposed reason of making her life better.

Esau February 20, 2007 at 4:55 pm

everyone has to go through sexaul education, unfortunately.
Some Day:
Brother, you are looking at the subject of sex as a bad thing when it actually isn’t.
Remember what Jimmy said:
God himself designed us so that we would desire various things: food, human companionship, respect, love, sex, etc.
As he mentioned, it is when it leads us to mortal sin that it becomes bad.

Eileen R February 20, 2007 at 4:59 pm

Some Day, you are the *last* person in the world to be talking about what’s appropriate on this blog or not. You have a habit of making absolutely inappropriate comments, including that scandalous behaviour of yours on Jimmy’s post about the ex-priest. I’m surprised you haven’t been banned from this blog, to tell the truth. Rule 20 means there should be no arguing with Jimmy’s advice in the comments, and you went on to pour out absolute vitriol against the man who’d asked Jimmy for advice.
You also seem to have a dismissive view towards women, so much that women talking in very dull and undescriptive terms about a problem that is completely relevant to this story. One of the reasons Ashley’s parents gave is that they wanted to spare her the ups and downs and pains of the cycle. And plenty of women take the Pill because they want to soothe the pain, and their doctors believe that’s the only way to do it. This is an issue where biology *crosses* with “higher subjects”. We’re human beings with physical bodies, not luminous souls in ether.
To the others, Thanks for the CCL resource. It’s very interesting.

Esau February 20, 2007 at 5:03 pm

Some Day:
Please refer to what I’ve mentioned to you in the other thread “Desires For Other Things”.
If you really do desire to become a priest, you really need to educate yourself even with regards to these matters since you might one day become in charge of an entire parish (that is, if you actually do become a priest) and may need to be aware of such matters in order to relate to them and those of your parish who may be experiencing similar issues under your care.

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Esau,
No, I am really just ticked at the language used here. And like I said, we could be talking about how to get in shape for sports, which I play, and still I would say something, because it is not the place.
The descriptions used by certain people here about themselves, are hardly neccesary.
Now sex ed is deplorable. Why?
Because looking at truth other than truth is not truth.
It presents sex in such a bad way, and obviously, with an ulterior motive. I don’t know how was it back then, but now I had to look away during this stuff. Not everyone is granted graces to not feel tempted and beat the temptation.
It is simply unacceptable.
Schools are now a brothel with books.
And who can challange that?

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 5:07 pm

OK JIMMY this is why you were voted “smartest”? blog….for those who don’t know what vitriol is…
vit·ri·ol
Pronunciation: ‘vi-trE-&l
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French vitriole, from Medieval Latin vitriolum, alteration of Late Latin vitreolum, neuter of vitreolus glassy, from Latin vitreus vitreous
1 a : a sulfate of any of various metals (as copper, iron, or zinc); especially : a glassy hydrate of such a sulfate b : OIL OF VITRIOL
2 : something felt to resemble vitriol especially in caustic quality; especially : virulence of feeling or of speech
Eileen, I hope you can use the site. I can not tell you how much my husband and I have learned and are still learning. And from what we know, we would never ever do that, mutilate, our daughter. Never.

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 5:11 pm

Esau,
I got these things down.
Who has not in the past 50 years?

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 5:13 pm

And Eileen R,
I talked with Mr. Jimmy on that stuff already.
We are good.

Sailorette/Foxfier February 20, 2007 at 5:27 pm

The descriptions used by certain people here about themselves, are hardly neccesary.
Maybe you should talk to a few more women– the most common response to a gal saying that her chest doesn’t bug her is to imply that the woman is simply too small for it to be a problem.
Schools are now a brothel with books.
I most assuredly challange it, as does every other guy or gal who goes through school *without* drinking the sexualy-charged kool-aid, so to speak. Haven’t been to a normal college, yet– military instead– but I rather doubt they’re *quite* as bad as they are shown in popular culture.
Now that we’ve gone on and on about what you wanted to talk about, can we get back to that poor kid?

Some Day February 20, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Sure, but I can only challange your last accertion with what I saw today at school.
You do realize I am still a junior right, in High School.
Everyone I grew up with since elementary is no longer a virgin.
And boy has it been tough for me. I have done everything to prevent near occasions of sin.
And they are simply unavoidable.
I try to apply the “the floor is chaste” or the ceiling, because even with dress code, it is pretty deplorable.
Just look at the way people come to church.
And not just girls, who you think I hate, but men who try to come as showy as possible.
And don’t say temptations don’t come to me.
Until now, I played football and wrestled since 8th grade, to burn off youthful energy.
Don’t you think that attracts attention I don’t want.
So please don’t discredit me straight up on that subject.
And you know that description was not neccesary.
Can we continue as Catholics in thought here on the CORRECT subject?

David B. February 20, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Thank God that Gianna Jessen’s parent’s didn’t stunt her growth. Otherwise, she probably would never have been able to even try to walk!

Dr. Eric February 20, 2007 at 6:02 pm

Ladies, if you don’t want to take the pill. Look into a Chinese herbalist, he/she could really help you with your “unspeakable” female problems. Dang gui and rehemannia work wonders!
Mutilation of the sexual organs is an abomination! If I may address the topic at hand.
*My statements above were not evaluated by the FDA and were not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat any disease or illness. Don’t medical advice from a stranger on the internet, check with your Medical Doctor before undertaking any diet, exercise program, or herbal therapy.*
Now my butt is covered. 😉

Sailorette/Foxfier February 20, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Some Day- I did not know, but I am not at all surprised.
I never said you hated girls, only that you seem to have a high ick-factor about female problems, such as those that will be spoken of in this type of mutilation; that is based on your seeming inability to comment on the point of the post.
“Dr. Eric”– *lol*. I haven’t heard that phrase used in years….
So… does ANYONE here think that it’s actually to the girl’s best intrest?

Kris February 20, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Some Day–
As someone closer to your age, I’d like to offer some advice.
Be careful when preaching to the virtuous. In this world we live in, it is often necessary to speak out against evil; however, when in the midst of wise Catholics like the ones on this blog it’s hardly called for.
Discussing bodily functions and parts that are germane to the topic at hand–bodily functions and parts that were mutilated in this young lady’s case–is not within the realm of creating an occasion of sin.
Though, as Esau referred to, some of the accounts might have been overly vivid, there’s hardly a need to call for the discussion to stop, as it is relevant to the topic at hand.
Sometimes it’s just better to lurk.
In Christ,
Kris

AnnonyMouse February 20, 2007 at 7:19 pm

*aside* Is anyone else getting “error” messages when you post? I have to PROVE that I am not a spammer or a computer and sometimes it is hard to read thos letters and numbers. It is also irritating too.

Sailorette/Foxfier February 20, 2007 at 7:33 pm

It does that to me when I post more than twice in an hour, best as I can figure.

DaveJ February 20, 2007 at 7:38 pm

It seems to me that the parents took this action to make it easier for them to care for her as she got older. That makes me sad because they are overlooking the many good and caring organization who specialize it caring for disabled adults. I spent more than 10 years of my life caring for developmentaly disabled adults and children. There are better options out there than stunting a child’s growth.

Ry February 20, 2007 at 10:46 pm

So… does ANYONE here think that it’s actually to the girl’s best intrest?
Sailorette, While I cannot endorse the parents’ decision, I would argue that a PLAUSIBLE defense based on the principle of double effect could be made here:
** the act itself must be good or morally neutral: The removal of limbs, organs and tissues is not an evil act if said limbs, organs or tissues are diseased. It is PLAUSIBLE that an argument could be made that the removal of healthy limbs, organs or tissues is morally permissable in certain cases. (For example, a man has a healthy arm caught in a trap and must free himself to live. The trap is foolproof, and the only way to escape is to seperate himself from his arm.)
** the good effect must be a result of the act and not of the evil effect: One might say that the evil effect is Ashley’s sterilization. An argument could be made that the parents are not seeking her sterilization but rather her ease of mobility.
** the evil effect must not be directly willed, but may be foreseen and tolerated: The parents do not appear to be desiring any of the evil effects on their daughter. They seem to want only to tolerate them for the sake of Ashley’s comfort.
** the good effect outweighs the evil effect, or the two are at least comparable: Ashley loses her reproductive capabilities; however, it is unimaginable that she would have ever used those capabilities had she been left intact. It is PLAUSIBLE that she will be more comfortable to stay at her current size, and that this comfort would outweighs the loss of her potential but highly unlikely fecundity.
Take this as a devil’s advocate argument. I am NOT endorsing the procedure decided on by Ashley’s parents. I do think, however, that a case could be made.

Lee Darnell February 20, 2007 at 11:08 pm

If you would not give a child of that age a breast implant then why would you give them breast augmentation? It just doesn’t jive. Having taken care of someone who is older and who is disabled I know the chore of what it means to take care of an older adult whose behavior may not be cute. But you just do it. You pray for the grace of God, but you do it. This sets a really ugly prescident for all the kids that are wards of the state in group homes. What an abdication of faith and parental obligation.

Matt February 21, 2007 at 1:04 am

The more familiar one is with the details of the situation, the more one tends to sympathize with the parents _in this particular case_. Which is not to say that there isn’t a slippery slope, nor that there isn’t a powerful need for watchfulness. And I say that I sympathize with these parents as someone whose natural tendency is very much not to do so.
I honestly believe that these individuals have the best interests of their child at heart. But we live in a world where some parents do not, and where the medical community too often enables that latter set to do grave harm. This course of treatment provides a uniquely powerful tool for those less inclined to do good, and hence should be watched closely…every use should be the subject of intense scrutiny.
It is a dangerous tool. Not all uses of dangerous tools are bad, but no matter how good the particular case may be, we must always be mindful of the danger.

Tim J. February 21, 2007 at 6:17 am

Ry –
I appreciate your trying to get at the meat of the issue, here, by trying to put together a plausible argument for the Ashley Treatment, but I don’t think it holds.
For one thing, there must be any number of ways to make a disabled person more comfortable without resorting to radical, non-therapeutic surgery. If the issues were taken one at a time, I doubt any of the surgeries could be supported in reality. I mean, let’s go with the obvious, low-tech solutions before we go cutting on the girl! Cut off a limb to save a life? Sure. But to save some trouble?…
None of the procedures done to Ashley treat any disease or defect. These are all healthy organs being removed. I think it is strange to hold that, because Ashley will never be completely normal, it is therefore permiited to make her even less normal in order that she be easier to care for.
In other words, isn’t the job of the parents and doctors to help disabled kids to lead as normal and natural a life as possible? The extent of our children’s growth, their breast size, their fertility, the severity of their periods, are not ours to control. They never have been.
If I think my son would be happier as an NBA star, is it okay to give him hormone treatments so he can be seven-foot-five? Standard ethics have always said “no”, but I’ll be darned if I can come up with an argument against it if vague perceptions about “quality of life” become the central consideration of medical ethics. Soon such things will be “a decision that should be left to the individual and the family, with their physician”.
People have been all up-in-arms about the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional sports, but with the new ethics on the horizon, what, really, is the problem? Better football through chemistry. Honestly, I can’t think of any ethical problem with them if the Ashley logic holds sway.
Cloning, genetically engineered children, the whole thing springs from this heady idea that we can be the masters of our fate… that we can do an end-run around nature, that we can Make Man in Our Image.

RyanL February 21, 2007 at 6:29 am

I’ll put in a second plug for Wesley J. Smith’s blog, particularly on Ashley’s case:
link to all files about Ashley’s case
This is simply evidence of the overall post-Christian, Western, science-is-God cultural mentality that children should be made, not begotten.
IVF – made, not begotten.
Genetic enhancement – made, not begotten.
So-called “fetal screening” – made, not begotten.
SCNT – made, not begotten.
Unconditional love is becoming a thing of the past. The current approach to children is “I will love you IF…[insert lack of perceived “defect” here]”, and that’s not good for any of us. Even worse, the children who make it though this moral morass will grow up to be the same children who euthanize their parents when they become difficult to care for.
And the downward spiral continues…

Eileen R February 21, 2007 at 10:19 am

Wesley Smith’s actually got a new post today about this subject, linking to a Disability Rights Group that’s very concerned about this treatment becoming standard.
http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2007/02/ashleys-case-disability-rights-groups.html

Nancy February 21, 2007 at 11:17 am

As per Tim’s request, I’m a pediatric nurse at a childrens’ hospital. For more than twenty years, I’ve worked with all sorts of kids with severe disabilities/handicaps: severe cerebral palsy, with and without seizure disorders, severe contractions of limbs, some with obesity, some with feeding tubes, tracheotomy tubes, frequent pneumonias from aspiration of oral secretions, skin breakdowns, and personality to beat the band, no matter the limitations. Some of these kids are obese and some are emaciated. The teen-agers have all the physical changes one expects and, because of their size, are very demanding physically to care for.
Having said all that, I’m very cognizant of where these parents may be coming from. They are not necessarily looking at the “cuteness factor” or the convenience. They may be considering down the road, if she lives twenty more years and they’re in 60s or 70s, without the strength and stamina and maybe even good health they currently possess. Spend some time this Lent volunteering at a local long term care facility for these kids and try to understand them a little better. I wonder,too, if an unspoken concern is the surprise pregnancy by some unscrupulous man. It has happened. My initial gut reaction was “I can see doing that” but it didn’t take long to realize that it didn’t make their actions right.
These parents need our sympathy and prayers, and they need our support in their efforts to secure the help and assistance (physical, financial, emotional) they need to provide the best care these kids deserve. I thank God daily that He didn’t put me in their shoes, but He does ask me to reach out my hands in love and care, patience and gentleness, when we meet.
Finally, be assured that there are ongoing discussions about the ethics of this decision by the healthcare professions.

Bekah S. February 21, 2007 at 7:23 pm

>>Furthermore, given Ashley’s mental age a nine and a half year old body is more appropriate and more dignified than a fully grown female body.~From the parent’s website<< I don't wish to appear insensitive, because I actually feel inclined to sympathize with the parents. But what this boils down to, exactly, is that our daughter's mind is broken, so we'll give her a body to match. Absolutely immoral and unethical no matter what the motivation. I'm sorry this decision was, by their own admission, such an easy one to make. They should have spent more time and consideration before taking such action.

Sailorette/Foxfier February 21, 2007 at 8:04 pm

Bekah– *blink* Outstanding. Honestly, I hadn’t thought of it that way, before.
*thinks a bit* That makes things make a lot more sense…. Thank you.

Naomi February 22, 2007 at 10:51 am

But what this boils down to, exactly, is that our daughter’s mind is broken, so we’ll give her a body to match.
Bekah, that is it exactly. And that’s what makes me weep.

Just Another Lurker February 22, 2007 at 1:03 pm

I’ve nothing to add from the ethical perspective that has not already been said, but I would like to correct the view I am seeing here about female experience of menstrual cramps and also well-endowed-ness. The truth is that these are a spectrum. For my part, my cramps are so terrible that I was ultimately put onto morphine for them. I hallucinated with the pain. And my, er, bounty came with a host of pains and problems until I had reduction surgery at thirty. I am no wimp about pain – I had root canal and gave birth, both with only minor pain relief. But the cramping was in a whole other category, and it wasn’t until after my surgery that I realised that, back and shoulder pain aside, I had been in constant low-grade pain from my altered center of gravity. Female aches and pains are a spectrum, but I don’t think even those on the low end are often completely pain-free.

Scott Florance March 12, 2008 at 11:33 am

The prison inmates arent useless any more. They should each be given a ‘miraculas vial’, they have the ability to talk to Angels and to ask them to materialize a small speck of healthy medication in the empty vial you give them. The prisoners will look closely inside their vials every morning to determine if they accummulated a tiny bit of chemical drug given to them by the Christian Angels. Give them a list of different types of drugs to request for, let them choose wich one drug type they will get manifested inside their vials. Then when it works you have a new drug to study and mass produce. Develop a small chip thats meant to be the spot where one molecule would be able to appear. First make a nano-box or nano-hole in the center of the chip where the single magic molecule might be found. Once this is done give one chip to each prisoner to put in the vile they each have.

Scott Florance March 12, 2008 at 11:35 am

The prison inmates arent useless any more. They should each be given a ‘miraculas vial’, they have the ability to talk to Angels and to ask them to materialize a small speck of healthy medication in the empty vial you give them. The prisoners will look closely inside their vials every morning to determine if they accummulated a tiny bit of chemical drug given to them by the Christian Angels. Give them a list of different types of drugs to request for, let them choose wich one drug type they will get manifested inside their vials. Then when it works you have a new drug to study and mass produce. Develop a small chip thats meant to be the spot where one molecule would be able to appear. First make a nano-box or nano-hole in the center of the chip where the single magic molecule might be found. Once this is done give one chip to each prisoner to put in the vile they each have.

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