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Activists Score Meeting With Docs Group Over "Ashley Treatment"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 20, 2007

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--A coalition of disability rights activists met Tuesday with leaders of the American Medical Association to discuss the association's reaction to the treatment that a Seattle couple ordered their 6-year-old daughter with disabilities to undergo in order to keep her physically small.

The advocates represented ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, and Feminist Response in Disability Activism, and included Donna Harnett, the mother of an 11-year-old boy with disabilities similar to "Ashley X". They met with Dr. Mike Mayes, the AMA's Executive Vice President and CEO, Dr. Cecil Wilson, Chair of the AMA Board of Trustees, and Mike Lynch, Vice President of External Communications for the AMA.

The advocates had asked the nation's largest physicians' group to issue a formal statement opposing the "growth attenuation" treatment that the girl endured, which included a hysterectomy, removing her breast tissue, and giving her massive doses of the hormone estrogen in order to keep her from going through puberty.

Disability advocates around the world have condemned the practice since it was made public in an AMA-owned journal last October. Some call the treatment "mutilation" and "abuse", and worry that other parents would want their children subjected to similar treatments.

The advocates at the AMA meeting also asked the doctors' organization to support the Community Choices Act of 2007, which would allow people receiving long-term care to have their support dollars go toward in-home care rather than nursing homes and other institutions, and to establish an ongoing dialogue between the disability and medical communities.

Maves told Medill Reports that he would reply to the disability advocates by March 6.

As of this writing, more than 500 individuals and groups had signed on to a statement of solidarity responding to the "Ashley Treatment".

Harnett has developed her own website, showing how her son is living without such treatment.

AMA leaders had refused to meet with activists when about two dozen protested outside the association's Chicago headquarters in early January. According to the Southern Illinoisan newspaper, Maves bowed to pressure to meet after the protests and the onslaught of telephone calls and faxes from advocates.

"Disability activists press 'Ashley treatment' case with AMA" (Medill Reports)
Martin's Answer to the "Ashley Treatment"
"A Statement of Solidarity for the Dignity of People With Disabilities: A Reaction to the 'Ashley Treatment'"
"Disability Advocates Respond To 'Ashley Treatment' Designed To Keep Girl Small" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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