When I Have Children


When I Have Children

By guest author

Sarah Cranston

     "Dad, can I go in the store with you and get a candy bar?"

     "Sure, Sabrina, meet me at the front of the truck."

     As the twelve-year-old and her father entered the small convenience store, their ears were assaulted by the shrieks and gleeful giggles of three youngsters, all of them no older than six or seven, who were doing everything they could to make their already harried mother even more frazzled. Between shouts of, "Don't touch that!" and "Don't tease your sister!" the woman finally managed to get all her purchases paid for and shepherded her wild brood out the door.

     Sabrina smiled to herself when she heard her father's almost inaudible whisper, "Whew!"

     "When I grow up and have kids," she thought, "I'll keep much better track of them, and never ever let them get out of control like that."

     Back on the road, Sabrina expressed her feelings on the situation. "Dad, I'm glad you never let me and my brothers get that crazy in a store. That mom should have left those kids at home if she can't even keep them from killing each other in a store! You know, I was thinking that when I grow up and have kids, I'll make sure they don't cause trouble like that, and if they do, they'll have to stay with a baby-sitter."

     After a long pause, her father said, "well, honey, you won't have to worry about that."

     "What do you mean?" asked a puzzled Sabrina.

     "Your mother and I have been doing a lot of thinking. Since you were born blind, and so was your Uncle Pete, it seems that your blindness runs in the family. In a few years, when you're a little older, we're going to take you to a doctor and he will fix it so you can't have kids. We don't want you to have to worry about keeping your kids safe when you can't see them. But most important, we don't want to take the chance on you having a blind child. We're going to have this done before you turn eighteen, so signing all the papers will be our responsibility and one more thing you won't have to worry about."


e-mail responses to newmanrl@cox.net

**1. When I read this I almost cried. I was born with Retinoblastoma. It was spontaneous and as far as we know, I am the only one in my family that has it. My aunt told me a few years ago that my father was certain I would never have children. In fact, the specialist told my parents that I should have the operation to tie my tubes so I would never have kids. He told them this in front of me when I was 14. I am very, very happy that my parents did not follow this advice.
I now have two beautiful, healthy children. Neither of them have Retinoblastoma according to the DNA results. Each pregnancy was a 50/50 chance on passing it on. In fact, I was certain up to bout eight years ago, that I would never have children. I had bought into the feeling that I did not want to pass along the gene, too much trouble for a blind person to have children, etc. etc. etc.

I am very very happy that I did decide to have my two beautiful children.
They are a joy most of the time and the rest they are kids

This story shows how much education still needs to be done. I know so many parents who are blind that take great care of their kids. It is hard to believe that this thinking is still out there. It must be squashed!

Kris Lawrence NFB Parents of Blind Children list

**2. Words cannot describe the horror I felt at reading this account. I was born with congenital cataracts, and I later developed glaucoma in my right eye.
As far as my parents knew I was a fluke. Nobody else in my family was blind from birth. It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out that cataracts could be genetic. I am now married, and I have two beautiful boys. One of my sons has cataracts, and the other does not. I am expecting my third child, a girl, in February of 2006. I always wanted to be a mother, and I am glad I am one. I wish to thank my parents for not limiting my reproductive powers just because I happen to be blind. They recognize that my blindness is a part of me, but it isn't such a tragedy as to prevent me from having and raising my own children. In fact, when we found out that my son Andrew was blind, my mother stated that I was the best person to have this child because I was blind myself. She recognized that I knew more about blindness than she did when I was born. She realized that Andrew would be raised well also because I am part of the National Federation of the Blind. I wish the father in this account would realize that blindness isn't such a tragedy that his daughter should be sterilized!

Kasondra Payne NFB Parents of Blind Children list

**3. Two immediate reactions. First, to parody Mr. Rogers: "Can you say litigation, boys and girls? I knew you could." That father, those parents, will
be subject to litigation in the event that they proceed with such an operation, and if the child/young woman seeks to stop the operation to sterilize her.
Also, what a horrid thought, but I'm sure a lot of parents may still feel this way even after all the progress we've made! And what a horrid thing
to say, in so many words, to your child! "You're a defective. You're undesirable. You must be eliminated, and since we can't kill you, the kindest thing
to do is to stop others like you from being born." That's in essence what one is saying. I decided when I was about seventeen or eighteen that I didn't
want kids. It was not because of blindness. Rather, it was because at that time, and up till my mid-thirties, I frankly didn't know what gender of person
I was going to share my life with. Obviously if it were a male, there'd be no problem. But if my partner were a female, I'd find one who felt the same
way I did -- namely that I'm not a particularly child-centered person. I'm okay with relatively older children and teenagers, but frankly I don't find
very young children all that wonderful, and I dread the thought of dealing with infants. Babies grow up to be fully realized human beings who are as good
or as bad as any other former baby, but in the meantime they do little more than eat, sleep, cry, spit up, and have to be changed.
And so when Sue and I started dating, one of the first things we discussed was children. Both of us were of a similar mindset, and so I got a vasectomy
four years ago. I was thirty-six though, and I'd been warning people for almost twenty years that it was pretty likely I'd go ahead and get one. Thankfully
my parents were reasonably cool about it even they might've wanted additional grandchildren, but it was always my decision, and they weren't, to my infinite
relief, like the fictional father in the story.
Finally, I know this scenario is all fiction, but I also know that within any fiction there are grains of truth. And this story had me feeling incensed,
outraged, angry, sad and a whole host of other emotions, and in my belief this is exactly what the best works of fiction should achieve. I can think of
no greater compliments to give this guest author. I hope she keeps up the good work and that we see more of her!

John D. Coveleski Minneapolis, MN (

**FROM ME: This is a true story. And no, the girl in question did not end up sterilized.

**4. What a shame The father has the same public opinion that seems to be shared by the general sighted public "Better dead than blind” That in my opinion is caused by charities for the blind! He needs to become involved with organizations of the blind like the nfb to learn his daughters true worth as a person, she has rights that must be respected after all this is a new century not the 1800!

Diane Dobson Victoria BC Canada

**5. I felt numb inside after reading this, especially after hearing that it is reportedly a true story.

I think that there are some things a parent does not have the right to decide about their children, such as the denial of life-saving medical treatment, or as in the New Orleans situation, I believe that any individual has the right to stay in their homes and risk their life, but all minors as well as adults being cared for must be evacuated. And any adult wishing to stay with their children will need to be evacuated.

But parents do not have such a right, to make these kind of decisions about their children's future. and there needs to be laws in place to insure that this does not happen.
Has the NFB introduced such a bill to Congress?

Glenn Ervin NFB Rehabilitation Professional list

**6. I doubt it. Legislation of this sort would have to be crafted (very* carefully and could open cans of worms both within NFB and outside that may well best be left sealed.

Mike Freeman NFB Rehabilitation Professional list

**7. You sure know how to get my hair up.

William ACB-L list

**8. I believe this is cruel and very unkind. What gives any one the right to decide whether or not a blind woman has the right or privilege to have children. There are no guarantees on whether or not a child will be born with a disability. So what if you have a blind child that doesn’t mean the child is less important or valuable to the world as a person. Just because a parent cannot see doesn't mean that they cannot handle their children properly. The point is to provide the TRUTH to your children and send them to doctors who will not LIE to them about the likelihood of conceiving a disabled child. You only have the right to make that choice for yourself not for anyone else. I know lots of blind parents with both blind and non-blind children and they all do their best to raise their children properly. I also know people both disabled and non-disabled who have no control of their children. The determining factors doesn't appear to be blindness but skill, love and desire to spend quality time with children to raise them right.

Moneika NFB Rehabilitation Professionals list

**9. Well if memory serves me, didn't Helen Keller essentially believe the same way? Seems to me I read somewhere that she was not averse to the idea of forced sterilization.

Dave McElroy ACB-L list

**10. Yvonne here, I'm sorry, but I don't agree with that at all. sounds too much like Eugenics to me.
I don't think anyone has the right to make a decision like that for someone else unless they are incompetent. Sabrina should have been given her own choice, not forced into something without knowing the options.
I NEVER regret having my children, the only regret I have is that of ignorance in those who are sighted and believe disabled people should not have children. Just my opinion, though, for what it's worth.

Yvonne NFB Parents of Blind Children list

**11. I have RP, so thought long and hard about having babies. My husband and I knew the genetic odds, but decided in favor of having children. Shortly after my son was born, and the day I had a miscarriage, a friend of my mother came to my house. She and my Mom didn't know about the pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage. It was just incredibly bad timing. The woman told me my mother had sent her to persuade me not to have more babies. I knew my brother learned to fish by casting the bait, then pulling it in. I wasn't allowed to. Other than driving, that's one of the few things my parents didn't think I could do. When I did confront my mother about this visit from her friend, I asked was she doubting my abilities as a mother or did she not want more blind people in the world. I never got a straight answer.

I'm wondering whether, now, in 2005, a doctor would sterilize a teenage blind person on the request of her parents. I would hope that the girl would be advised that there are other ways to prevent pregnancy and offered them if she requested. When she is eighteen, she can decide if she wants more permanent birth control measures.

I'm also wondering if a blind twelve-year-old boy making a comment about responsible parenting would be told he would be sterilized before he was eighteen.

Abby ACB-L list

**12. My Seeing Eye dog is better behaved than most children running around these days.

Jennifer Holladay ACB-L list

**13. That is sick! All of it! I did what ever I wanted to when I was a kid including fishing. My parents never told me I couldn't do anything. As for having kids, its your choice, no one else's. No one has the right to tell me that I can't have kids or how to raise them. If they do say anything, they better be ready for a confrontation!

Sarai ACB-L list

**14. It is just humiliating, because these attitudes still go on today. Once a boyfriend's mother told me that I shouldn't date her son, because we might get married, and how would I take care of his children? She said this right to my face I couldn't believe that she had the nerve. As much as I should just let it go, that comment goes through my mind each and every time I meet a dates parents.

Jennifer ACB-L list

**15. In this story we are drawn to the father's statement, "...the doctor will fix it so you won't have kids."
Each of our reactions is based on our individual history. How my parents shaped my thinking. What social beliefs influenced me. And what personal experiences I had along Life's path.
With this as our backdrop, we debate whether the parents have the "right" to make such a life-altering decision for their daughter. If enough of us have similar feelings, and if they are strong enough, we may press for legislation to turn our beliefs into Law.
Personally, I believe that each of us should have the right to make such decisions for ourselves. Our decision may be shaped and biased by how our parents raise us, but it must still be ours, made at an age when society agrees we can make such determinations.
And yet, I am a proponent of a woman's right to determine whether or not to have an abortion. And again, I would "protect" children from parents who would deny that child a life saving operation or transfusion because of religious beliefs. But I support the right of parents to self teach their children, or place them in private schools, where they are taught values that I personally do not subscribe to.
My point is that each of us are a hodge podge of mixed values and beliefs.
Within our own head we hold conflicting principles.
In the story, Dad and Mom are struggling to do what they believe is right for their daughter. This is what we, as parents do. Where to educate our children? Who their friends should be? Where to live? Church, or no church? How to dress? How to behave? A million questions that must be answered by parents. So just where do we, society, draw the line? What can parents take as their "right", and what does society take as our collective "right" on behalf of the child?
This debate will continue far beyond our lives.

Carl Jarvis ACB-L list

**16. Great post, Carl. It seems the disability movement would have an interest in putting such a thing into law but sometimes I think people don't even realize what could happen and the things others could do to a disabled individual.

Sarah L. Gales
AdLib Center for Independent Living
Advocate/Peer Counselor

**17. I and my wife had decided not to risk passing along my R. P. to a child, but Woops showed up on the scene in 1979, and am I glad we miss managed that one. My son can see better than his mother, and now we have a wonderful three year old grandson that can spot things at greater distances than any of the family.
I do think it is responsible to take in to account the risks of passing
on any genetic disorder, and as we all know, blindness is not the worst
problem that can befall a person, but I would not choose to bring a child in
to the world, knowing that it would have R. P.
I would not attempt to make a decision for a teen age child about
whether or not he or she should have children and then impose that decision
on my child. I would certainly explain to my child how genetics can become a
factor and make sure that that education in that arena continued.
Hopefully, there will be cures or at least helpful procedures which will assist many folks who today have no medical reasons to wish for relief. I
doubt that at my age, 62 and with diabetes, that I will be a candidate for
medical intervention with my R. P. in my life time.
In high school, my agriculture class conducted experiments with hogs
which demonstrated clearly how dominant and recessive genes manifest
themselves. We did the calculations as to color and markings, and when the second and third generations were born, we had red pigs with white stripes,
solid red, solid black, and black with white stripes, and in the proper
The one thing that bothers me about all of that was that I was taught that blue eyed people had two recessive genes for blue eyes, so that two blue eyed parents can only have blue eyed children. No! don't go checking on your family and friends as you may end up with some hurt feelings. or
their may be a lot more adoptions than we know about.

Yours Truly,
Clifford Wilson ACB-L list

**18. Listen, I read this thought provoker, and let me tell you that I don't think Sabrina's parents' thoughts about blindness are healthy or understanding. Though the blindness seems to run in the family, it is not a life-threatening illness such as Adrenal Leukodystrophy, which is a male-affecting genetic illness that slowly cripples boys between 5 and 10 years old. The boys' brains are deprived of myelin, and fatty acids eat away at the myelin. Enough of that, but that is an example where the woman should choose either not to have children or she should carefully select the sex of her baby. In Sabrina's case, the fixing is not healthy. Personally, I was afraid myself that I'd be fixed before I turned eighteen. Personally, I want kids sooooooo bad! Blind people can have kids, and this was something that opened my eyes.

Beth Taurasi NFB NABS list

**19. about."

Would any responsible doctor do this if the child said no? I expect she ran away the following day.

Lori Stayer Merrick, New York .

P.S. After my brother was born (caesarian), my father had my mother's tubes tied while she was on the operating table and told her about it later. And she never forgave him. That was 50 years ago, and I expect things are a bit different now.

**20. This is simply too disturbing, especially since there are probably parents out there that have, or would do this to their child. It raises the question, what about the ethics of a doctor that would do this to a child, at the parents' request? Are doctors legally permitted to do this? If so, then what is our obligation as blind people, and parents, to bring a stop to this form of social Darwinism? Who, along with the parents, gets to play God, and set the standards for who will be denied their reproductive rights?

Jeff Altman MA NOMC

….FROM ME: It would be interesting to see where this is being practiced, where it is allowed.

**21. You wont find me voicing my opinions on AERnet this strongly very often, given the fact that I am not an AER member--but as a person who is blind myself, I have to draw the line on this months thought provoker.
I usually enjoy reading these very thoughtfully written pieces. However--this months piece is just plain sick. I don’t like the fact that the piece is even out there, with the ability to be circulated around, for all the world to see and perhaps for one demented individual to draw an idea from. I elected

** not to have children--my choice completely. All of us--those who have disabilities and those who work on a daily basis as advocates and teachers of people with disabilities--have fought long and hard for everyone in this world to have choices. I don’t even like an idea like this floating around.
Disgusting. Just my unsolicited $.02.

Kimberly Morrow, Ph.D.
Communications Specialist
Unity World Headquarters
1901 Northwest Blue Parkway
Unity Village, MO 64105
(816) 524-3550 Ext. 3010
AERnet list

**22. I must concur with Morrow's assertion that the last "provoker" was substantively unacceptable. Furthermore, I agree as someone else already suggested that these "thought provokers" ought to be offered elsewhere, heeding Morrow's cautions.

Indeed questions of discourse, ethics and responsibility are in need of address and here I'd like to offer my ".02" cents. As educators, we find in the Western canon an historic trend of literature, humanities and scientific inquiries replete with a compulsive mythologizing, whether through glorification or vilification, of individuals who possess a distinct trait and or quality not commonly found within a given population.

As educators we need a forum to discuss these issues in a respectful and critical manner to not entertain quasi ethical considerations vis-a-vis "provokers" but more importantly to aid in dismantling perennial myths without restricting student's choices to develop their own ontological beliefs.

Perhaps a useful analogy for appropriate content on the listserv lies inherently within our own pedagogical framework; the core curriculum, the expanded core and compensatory skills.

As TVI/OM etc., our focus on human development over the lifespan compels us to not only promote self-determination; individual choices for life and community inclusion, but it also requires that we simultaneously dismantle the perennial stigmatization and marginalization of individuals whose essential human experiences are impaired by the social world's obsession with stratification. If we reflect upon the tragedies of the 20th century a very tragic lesson awaits realization; the worst forms of human objectification and marginalization are always sanctioned by "experts" with over privileged notions of expertise.

The privilege to openly disseminate thoughts vis-a-vis a listserv, publication or alternative forum must be tempered with a more nuanced understanding of how privileged misused breeds a sense of entitlement--to be "heard"--without full consideration of others.
Hence a real advocate and educator reflexively weighs what they express
considering the potential risk of having their rhetoric misconstrued.
as their views, for pragmatically instructive purposes while considering the potential risk of having their rhetoric misconstrued.

Elizabeth Haran Caplan AERnet list

**23. This is sickening. Should our society tolerate such a thing? We are a minority group like any other and just as any other we are trampled on. It is just another injustice. Send the Native Americans off to boarding school, cut their hair, strip their language and their religions. Have the African Americans living in areas where toxic waste dumping is more prevalent, if you don't believe me their are articles on it. Institutionalize mentally retarded individuals and others and don't let them out. None of it is any different. Strip people of their freedom, their humanity, their cultures and their opportunities to live productive lives in their own way. Sickening, but yet it continues, even today.

Sarah Gales ACB-L list

**24. Wow! 12 years with a blind child and they have learned nothing? How sad. Reminds me of the book My Sister's Keeper. Hopefully Sabrina fought this and became emancipated and in charge of her own medical well-being. There are so many issues here: sighted mother and bratty sighted children. Sighted father and well-behaved blind child. Sabrina who appears mature for her age. Uncle Pete--what kind of role model was he? And I could go on.

Kathy Ashley, MS, CRC
Program Director for Blind & VI Services Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Fax: 317-232-6478

**25. Sabrina must have been a horrible burden for her parents to shoulder so perhaps they feel they are being kind to save her from the responsibility that they
have had to endure.

Julie Wooton

**26. Note: This is a response by the guest author of this TP; I sent it to the AERnet list where several members had a problem with the post.

This is a response to Kimberly Morrow, as well as a few others.

This story is based on a real conversation I had with my father when I was a teenager. Though I dressed it up with little Sabrina, her thoughtless and selfish parents, and her invisible uncle Pete, this really happened to me. I'm not the only one, far from it. Are you saying that you wish I had kept it to my self, hidden away from the impressionable public? That, because it was a sick and awful thing for a child to have to hear, that I should have just accepted it for the absurdity it was and let it go? Perhaps you are right, perhaps posting this issue may do more harm than good, and may provoke more outrage than thought. However, I disagree strongly, and here is why. The conversation on which my story was based took place over ten years ago, and has been bouncing around in my head ever since. The more education about blindness I received at the hands of life, the more I realized that, not only was my father's suggestion completely out of line, but that there were surely other horribly misguided parents out there who may feel even more strongly about eradicating blindness than did my father. These parents may have actually had the resources and the determination to go through with the nasty deed, leaving their child or children to suffer the consequences of their prejudice. Just as sickening stories of child and spousal abuse are and should be written and shared, so should stories of extremely domineering and overprotective parents, as well as myriad other stories written to raise awareness of the sickening side of life. None of these disgusting things do any good hiding under the proverbial rug, they can only fester and grow nastier. So, after more than a decade of living with being told I had no business carrying on the family's genes, I hauled it out of my mental closet. The very fact that some people have brought up the possibility of creating legislation to prevent this from actually taking place is a better response than I had dared hope for. I predicted outrage, horror, sadness, astonishment, and a whole host of other reactions, but I never thought someone would think I should not have written and posted this fictional account of a true story. I still do not regret posting this, it has helped me to come to terms with the prejudices of a father who, even now, thinks of me as an inferior person, and I can only hope that raising awareness of things like this has done some good for someone. I do, however, regret causing offense, that was my very last intention.

Sarah Cranston

**27. Dear Sarah/Robert?:

One more thought on this subject--and then Ill cease and desist on this topic.

The point that I was making is that I *do not* want to see the very incident that happened to you happen to others. There are some fairly demented folks who read various listservs with less than noble intentions. Some really sick individual out there may not have even thought of initiating such a conversation or taking such an action with his/her child until they read a piece such as the one posted here. I'm simply concerned about not-so-nice people getting a really horrible idea in their heads and running with it.

I feel the same way when I see stories on the various news magazines about precisely how the terrorist acts of 9/11 were carried out or about how easy it is to build a bomb simply by reading and following instructions downloaded from the Internet. Don’t tell me this stuff! I don’t need to know! I don’t want to know! Why are these things any of my business or the business of any of the general public? All that can come of such information, other than simply scaring vulnerable people to death, is that some computer savvy teenager will go online and find a way to build a bomb or some such horrible thing.

I realize your intentions were noble, and I respect the hurt and frustration you feel. All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t post anything online that you wouldn’t want aired and acted upon in the town square on a Sunday afternoon!


…FROM ME: I really don’t know how to react to this. I’ve never seen what I do with THOUGHT PROVOKER to be a breeding ground for the negative, a source for how to treat blind people worse then we are presently by others who may act either by intent or through ignorance.

**28. Any doctor who would participate in such a sterilization should have his medical license revoked. While I somewhat understand the father's not wanting to see more blind children--remember, in some ways, such as employment, we really haven't come very far--blindness in and of itself isn't the disabling condition--societal attitudes are.

Now, if Sabrina chooses, during adulthood, not to have children, I support her right to make an informed decision not to have children.

Blind parents are as good or bad as sighted parents. In my anecdotal opinion, many blind parents I know are better parents than many sighted parents I have observed.

Darla J. Rogers B.S. Social Science M.A. Rehabilitation Counselor Education Albany, GA
ACB-L list

**29. Unfortunately, sad fact as it is, this occurs more commonly than we any of us can fathom. As a blind parent of one daughter and two stepsons, I am deeply saddened that the attitudes of said parents are still in the dark ages. The fact is, blind parents--single or otherwise--should make our voices heard and say to sighted parents with such attitudes, think of some successful people who were raised by blind parents. One that comes to mind is Jim Plunkett, super Bowl quarterback of the Oakland Raiders in 1981. My dear friend, Audrey Hitchroth, who was raised by a legally blind, single mother. I'm sure that many of you know of successful people who were nurtured and raised by blind parents. Having said that, there are, no doubt, parents who, no matter what the successes, staunchly believe that what they are saying is fact. And at the risk of opening a can of worms, if they truly believe their statement, why didn't they abort the baby so that they wouldn't have to worry about their children's imperfections? I, for one, don't believe in abortions; my ex-wife had two of them, and I was very upset with both because they were decisions she made without my knowledge.
But that's water under the bridge, and we have since moved on. I developed a love of family and kids from the time I was old enough to know better till now; It's attitudes such as this that is tearing our country apart. There are double standards which we as individuals need to address; and as President Lincoln put it so eloquently, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Richie Gardenhire, Anchorage, Alaska

**30. WOW, talk about a thought Provoker. This may qualify as a riot inciter instead. Do you all realize that to this day, the Deaf community does not trust hearing people largely because one of their staunchest advocates, Alexander Graham Bell, was guilty of promoting the idea that Deafness, was hereditary, so Deaf people should not be allowed to marry, or give birth, as this would promote the growth of an inferior race. Much of the stigma and alienation experienced by the Deaf community was directly linked to someone whom they trusted, and who was otherwise working to their benefit.
This story very much reminds me of that situation. First of all, the parents are talking about irreversible precautions that will alter their daughters life forever. Secondly, they have decided what's best for her, without even waiting to discuss these issues with her, once she's old enough to have developed an informed view of her own, about such issues.
Furthermore, she seems to be a well adjusted and thoughtful young lady, who would most likely make an excellent parent when she's older. And being a thoughtful young lady, I would imagine that her father just did irreparable damage to his relationship with his daughter, that no amount of damage control, will ever remove totally.
The timing of this conversation, and the one sided decisiveness of it's presentation, add insult to injury, in that it was bad enough that the parents even thought of doing such a thing, but to have completely decided it among themselves without any consideration for how she might feel, and then to present it in such a matter of fact manner, shows no understanding of what the needs of a young girl are, and certainly don't show any awareness about the emotional issues confronting a young girl who also happens to be blind.
I would think this young lady is getting ready to show her parents just what a force of nature, a twelve year old spirit can be. Or, she may internalize the whole thing, not letting on that it bothers her much at all, until she's older, and the time comes to go through with the procedure. She may be so obedient that she passively bends to the will of her parents, and then harbors resentment for the rest of her life. There are so many possible responses to this situation, that would ultimately be determined by the young lady's personality, and her relationship with her parents. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that this situation or something close to it, has been played out far too many times throughout history.

Dennis Gerron Community Development Specialist
Social Development Systems
Dallas, TX 75218
(214) 321-0752
ACB-L list

**31. I'll share my thoughts. I'm not sure what words can express my feeling toward such an attitude.
What a sad situation to discourage birth of children just because the child might be blind.
These parents have the wrong attitude and message about blindness. They should encourage their child to have children, being a parent, having a job , or
whatever their daughter wishes to be.
The parents should not be concerned about blindness running in the family. Blind people can get jobs and do most anything they want to. The real problem
of blindness is lack of training in the alternative techniques and lack of opportunity to use newly acquired skills. How many children are encouraged
to use their canes in public? Its worse with low vision kids. How many children struggle to read print when Braille would be a more efficient way to
read? How many children are told sighted guide provided by a sighted family member is faster than using a cane independently? The problem of blindness
lies in fear of it and the misguided belief that sight is necessary to make a productive, happy life. Such a misguided belief is exemplified by this
father. If he believed blind people could be competent parents and could do what they set their minds to, then he would have no problem with his daughter
having children or the daughter having a blind child.
Such a true, sad story tells me that blind people have lots of educating to do.
I would love to see the day when the general public treats blind people with respect and like we are normal people.
I want a day when every blind child has opportunity to gain the skills such as O and M to be successful and independent. I want a day when employers would
not discriminate, but hire on a perspective employee's abilities and qualifications to do the job. I hope there comes a day when parents believe in their
blind kids and expect of them what they would of their sighted children. For example if sighted kids have to do chores, so should blind kids.
Hopefully one day we will have educated the public enough where blindness is not feared and then such stories of this one are history. These parents need
an education on blindness. I hope they meet the NFB, ACB or other competent blind individuals. I hope they learn the truth about blindness. It is respectable
to be blind!

Ashley Bramlett OandM list

**32. As I read this thought provoker, I was at first surprised but not truly surprised by what I had read. Passing on your blindness to your children, well... in some cases, well.

It has been something I have had to think about. I have RP and it is a either recessive X linked kind or a new Dominant strain. We do not have anyone else in our extended family who have RP, and as far as we can figure my mother and father are carriers and I was lucky enough to get the right combination. Everyone has encouraged me to get DNA testing done, when I get married, and before I decide to start a family.

Sterilization is definitely not the way to go. And it should be up to the child not the parents.

These parents are thinking that first as a blind mom she wouldn't be able to keep track of her children, and also that the rare chance that her kids might have her blindness, which if it is recessive can only happen if the man she marries is a carrier.

This response from the father brings me back to all the Sterilization laws and decrees around the world, some still being enforced.

It is a very sensitive topic.

Will I have children, I would like to some day, and if my husband isn't a carrier for RP we can relax. If he is a carrier, that will be something we will have to discuss then, adoption, or other options,, or maybe. Though a part of me would feel terrible if I had a child with RP... as I know what the disorder does, and even though I am comfortable with the life I have the beautiful guide dog I travel with and the technology I use, believe me I would be happy sighted too, it would be a different life, but... well... I have seen before and know what I am missing. I am not positive if I would want to risk giving this to my son or daughter. But sterilization is not the way to go about it.

Shelley L. Rhodes and Judson, guiding golden juddysbuddy@velocity.net Guide Dogs For the Blind Inc.

**33. This also strikes up a similar topic,
and that is self sterilization due to a disability.
I find this very strange.
In my opinion, it is like someone saying they should not have been born, or that they do not, nor do they expect to, contribute something positive to society. Or that they cannot get married and make someone happy.
For if they feel that their children cannot do any of these things, then surely they feel that they themselves cannot reach this goal.
Now I know that some people do this, disabled or not, just because they don't want to have children, but a proportionally high number of people with

disabilities have done this to not pass along their disability, and I think they have been brain-washed by those close to them.

Glenn Ervin Nebraska USA
NFB Rehabilitation Professionals list

**34. I tend to agree with you unless, like in a case I know of. The doctor explained that this persons disability would very likely appear in their children and not only appear but be much more severe. This person was young, far from home and uninformed about the true cause of their disability. The doctor, turns out LIED!! The woman’s disability is not hereditary at all. It is simply a birth defect possibility related to agent orange, to her father.
As it turns out in truth, her disability is no more likely to produce a disabled child than the average person with or without a disability. She is now in a position that she is now older, married and she and her husband truly want children. The procedure she had can be reversed, thankfully, but is very expensive. I am not aware of any insurance that will help these people and this is all that doctors fault. Playing on the uninformed, scared and innocent young woman is wrong. He did not have the right to mislead her and potentially ruined her possible motherhood chances. The doctor is now dead, heart attack, so he cannot be held accountable. Do you or anyone on the list have any suggestions? Any thing I can advise her of is welcome.

Moneika Jones NFB Rehabilitation Professionals list

**35. I've been biting my tongue since I read this month's thought provoker. In the interest of not saying anything inappropriate, I will try to keep my response
short. As the daughter of two blind people, I can't imagine what it would have been like if my grandparents had done such a thing to my mother, who has
ROP, or my father, who has Diabetic Retinopathy. Not to mention that sterilization against a person's will is illegal in this country. Just my $.02.
I realize that this conversation is geared more toward the appropriateness of having a Thought Provoker at all on this listserv, so I'll comment on that
as well. Do we benefit from them? Sometimes. Do we converse about them? Absolutely. Do we always like the subject material? Apparently not. Whether we
like it or not, we are all sensitive about certain things. The reproductive rights of the physically disabled is apparently a hot button issue. We don't
like the fact that this right is even called into question. Sadly, though, sometimes it is. Usually by ignorant people who think they are doing "the right
thing". That's why we are in the field of education. We educate not only students with blindness and low vision, but also the parents, friends, and general
public. I'm going into a speech, so I will call it quits here.

Melinda AERnet list

…FROM ME: There have been several posts on the AERnet calling for THOUGHT PROVOKER to be banded from the list. I will stop posting there if and when I am formally requested to.

**36. As I mentioned earlier, we are all sensitive about this subject. It is indeed sickening to think that a parent could even consider essentially damaging
a child. Blind children should not be treated like animals. Essentially, this parent is equating his or her child's reproductive rights to that of a common
house cat- spayed to prevent overpopulation. It's sickening.
As I also mentioned before, my mother and father are blind. They were excellent parents to me and my 2 sisters. We grew up happy, healthy, safe, and warm.
We also learned that people with disabilities are no different from people without. We learned to look at things differently. I dare say that I am a better
person because my mother is blind. I will forever attempt to follow in her footsteps, because she is truly amazing. Being the "little blind girl" from
Southern Alabama is a very hard label to overcome in a very backward area. She did it beautifully. That's why I went into this field of work.

Melinda AERnet list

**37. I agree with Robert. There isn’t any point keeping the story to himself. And incidentally, I do think this is an appropriate forum for Robert to share with
educators, parents etc. Negative attitudes are held by many.

I’ll share a couple of unpleasant situations along this line.

My mother tells me that after both my eyes were removed as a result of retinal blastoma I had bandages until my sockets healed. This did not stop her from
taking me with her any time she went shopping etc. She tells me that people would follow her for blocks and asked her what was wrong with me. She told
them I had had surgery due to malignant tumors. And would you believe the gall of people; some actually asked my mom why she didn’t let me die. My mom
is the greatest. She has never treated me like a second rate person. On the contrary, she was super supportive. Pushed me to be successful. I owe my achievement
of my independence and my doing well in school to my mom. And of course I had great teachers and counselors along the way. The encouragement does begin
at home. And Robert I salute you for not letting your father’s stupidity hold you back.

Secondly, I decided to have a child. My husband and I went for genetic counseling and received the odds of our child having retinal blostoma. We took our
chances. My daughter did not contract my disease. However, when one of my colleagues found out that I had become pregnant, she told other colleagues that
I had no business getting pregnant knowing that I might have a blind child. I was not concerned about the blindness as much as I was concerned about the
odds of my child living should she contract my disease. My doctor assured me that with advances in medicine the odds of my child living and having some
vision were high. It was very disappointing and aggravating to me that a colleague had such negative attitudes about blindness. Being blind does not imply
living a second rate life.

Olivia Chavez AERnet list

**38. Two more thoughts, then I promise to drop the subject.
1. I think it's great that we are all so upset about this topic. It shows we care. Now we need to remember this anger, and educate the public.
2. Don't shoot the messenger. Even though we don't like the subject, we shouldn't question the validity of the TP. In fact, because we are thinking about
and responding to the topic means it's working. It's provoking thought. We should try to look at this as "What can we learn from this, and what can we
do about it?"
OK, I'm done.

Melinda AERnet list

**39. In response to THOUGHT PROVOKER 98
I feel the parent was abrupt with his daughter. He may have explained that her blindness may be genetic-thus increasing her chances of having a blind child.
At that point (since the child was 12 years old.) The conversation should have taken place between the two parents and the child. They should have talked
openly about this. After all-a 12 year old can be sexually active. So much for the future-that might be too late!

Lori Scharff Malverne, NY USA.

**40. I think it's wrong for the father to not let his daughter have kids when she id old enough, just because she is blind!

T. J. Blindkid list

Why on earth would a parent sterilize their child simply based on a heredity of blindness. I know several women who have given birth to children with downs
syndrome, stunted limbs, blindness, autism, deafness and spinabiffita that have conceived other children. ALL without the special needs of their older
brothers and sisters. Isn't this a bit presumptuous of a parent to decide if their child should have children or not?
If any adult is capable of taking care of themselves, and has the capacity to take care of raising a child, then more power to them. Shoot, in this world,
there's tons of people, with sight, who can't take care of their own children. I don't think it's up to the parents to decide, I think it's up to the
individual, when they reach adulthood, what is best for them.

Laurie Overland Park, KS

**42. The decision of whether or not one chooses to have children is a very personal one. The young girl in this story appears to be of normal intelligence.
The reason for her blindness isn't mentioned so may or may not have a genetic link. As a child, my parents were told that my condition wasn't hereditary.
So I was quite startled when I was carrying my second child that my doctor felt he needed to discuss the possibility that my daughter might also have
congenital glaucoma. Of course, I didn't even consider having an abortion. My first born was healthy with normal vision and my second proved to be unimpaired
as well. As for my ability to rear children, I never even thought it would be a problem. I was the eldest of five children, babysat in my teens for other
families and was confident I could manage. I became a La Leche League leader and taught breastfeeding and child care to sighted mothers. My children
were well mannered and were easy to manage. Of course there were a lot of logistical things to work out in managing two busy little girls and a guide
dog when we went out together, but nothing I couldn't work out with some planning and thought. I did get some negative comments from people who didn't
know me such as criticism of my using a leash to keep an active two year old attached to me or cooing comments made to the same toddler about how much
of a help she must be to her mommy. But since such remarks came from people I never expected to encounter again, I shrugged them off. Like anything else
in life, childcare with blindness poses some challenges, but is quite doable. As to whether I would have taken the risk of having my children had I been
definitively told in advance of their birth that they too might be blind, I think I would have taken the risk. I love children, I adopted a blind child
and did my best to prepare him for dealing with his blindness. I could have done the same for my natural child as well. When you choose to be a parent,
there are no guarantees about what that baby will be like. A disability can occur at anytime to any one. Unless the girl in this story was also mentally
delayed an incapable of managing her own life and decisions, I think the parents should not be the ones to be making this decision for her. From what I
have observed of other blind parents, most tend to focus a great deal on their children and they receive excellent care attention and love. There are
many children born to fully sighted parents who don't receive proper amounts of supervision and loving attention.

Deanna Quietwater Noriega

**43. This is awful!! First, the father uses the old stereotype that blind people cannot raise children. Second, just because blindness seems to run in the
family is no excuse for sterilization before she turns 18. It should be against the law for parents to be able to decide this kind of thing for a young
woman. I think the father in this story is barbaric. Sabrina will resent this man when she gets older.

Angela Farmer rehab teacher, Dothan Alabama USA.

**44. Mac, my mother's (Yvonne) thought on this one:

Oh my goodness how sad. I think it would be totally wrong for a parent to deprive a child of the right to have children. The person may be blind at this
point but the other senses are much more keen and therefore the person could take care of a child quite well. There are times when help is needed, but
that is true in everything. And, it isn't for sure the children will be blind. Just my thought, but if the person wants to get married, or not, and
have a baby, then that is the god given right for that person. I think if it is meant to be it will happen.


**45. What malarkey! I am totally blind, have five children, 6 grandchildren, and will soon enjoy my first great grandchild! They have all grown up with my
blindness, and while at times I am sure they or me wish things were different, the love and kindness I have experienced could never be denied any of my
children because they were blind. People who think like this are really selfish!

Jim Theall

**46. I already sent you a reply to this Provoker, but I decided I wanted to send it to more people. At any rate, of all your TPs
I have seen, I think this one is the best.
You, I, and many of the blind concur that the misconceptions and prejudices about blindness by some (by no means all, but some) of the sighted provoke
frustration at the least, and at the most downright anger - especially when we see such demeaning attitudes directed at others.
Many of the blind in my generation, from the '50s through the '70s, echo with me, "I saw this Provoker in action at a residential school for the
blind, in a public-school system, by sighted neighbors, friends, and family who considered themselves superior to me, even by my own parents."
Of course, philosophically speaking, substantial progress has been made in the past 50 years, due in large part, I believe, to the organized blind
- when the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind have put interorganizational bickering and name-calling aside, and have
worked together as the team which they are. However, this TP demonstrates ever so clearly that, as Rick Warren so well points out in his book The Purpose
Driven Life, that we cannot truly be happy on this earth because it is not our eternal home, that we can, and should, develop a genuine friendship with

Jeff Frye Overland Park, Kansas
Email: jfrye2@sbcglobal.net

**47. this is nothing short of pure ignorance and endorsement of sterilization of blind people. I hope this doesn't happen. or I would not be alive today.
it sends the disturbing message that people with disabilities are a burden on society.


**48. I certainly hope that someone with a law background will comment on this; I hope that it is illegal to involuntarily sterilize an adolescent against her will. Certainly, the father's comments cannot help but send the message t the daughter that she is "bad" simply for being blind--not only would her children be unfortunate but, by virtue f being blind, her life is less, too. How could this not result in serious self-hatred and internalized oppression.

Karen Rose, M.A./MFT

**49. I was reading along and smiling but when I came to the father’s response, I felt myself become angered and outraged. good thing it was just a story.
The parents are ignorant and I would think, in reality. That can't be done. CAN IT?
It is up to her if she wants to have kids. I know people who should not have kids, but they still do. It is their right.


**50. Oh – My – God! I’ll have to have my tongue amputated after I have bitten it so hard so that I don’t swear out loud and on this forum. Robert, please, for
the love of God, tell me that you found this post in a chronicle from another decade! Eugenics is a tried and tested field, and it is evil beyond repair.
If these geniuses win out, then there go our Stevy Wonders, Ray Charles and NASA scientists (I can’t remember their names, but I saw them in several emails
on an NFB list). I would rather see this father “fix it so he can’t have kids.” He obviously does not have the capability to understand that blindness
is a nuisance, and a nuisance alone! I’m literally sick to my stomach!


**51. Well, this appallingly creepy and blood-chilling scenario has probably been lived through more times than any of us would care to consider.
Luckily, Sabrina can go to her TVI and report this mental and soon to be physical abuse. The TVI, behaving as teachers are taught to, will report this
in writing to child protective authorities. Meantime, the irrepressible Sabrina will be making her own contacts with legal aid, who will begin proceedings
to have her disassociated from her family.
On another note, Sabrina and her dad are among the millions who are critical of stressed out parents letting their children dictate actions and reactions.
It's always a lot easier to look at a thumbnail sketch of another's life and then criticize or find fault.
Interesting, though, how the writer parallels the two stories. On the one hand, we have the mother in the store, seemingly out of control, but, nonetheless
shepherding her little flock back home. On the other hand, we have the doting dad, gentle, kind thoughtful, but planning one of the more unspeakable acts
imaginable, acts equated with the worst cruelty of Nazi Germany, to name but one.
Okay, I hope to read from others.
best to all,


**53. I felt quite ill after reading this thought provoker. First I was angry that the parents felt a blind person cannot raise a child successfully. Then I
felt enraged that they are even considering taking the choice away from their perfectly healthy, normal child! If there were a danger of passing on a
deadly disease, I might feel differently, but this?
I understand that this is an issue that must be faced and confronted, but how I wish there were not a need to do so.

Carolyn Clearwater, FL

**54. WOW. Being a blind parent I am shocked. The greatest gift in the world is being a mom and raising my kids. You need no sight to hold them, love them and
teach them. Sure the logistics of travel and supervision are challenging But not insurmountable. Prior to having kids I used to think keeping track of
them was going to be impossible. Then I realized the entire world is sighted , most of it. People for the most part are helpful and kind. My greatest
challenge was to learn to ask for what I needed. I felt bad not being able to see, to drive and read my kids homework. But there are millions of ways
to do things. I have taken cabs through drive through MacDonald’s to deliver lunch to my kids. I have hired tutors to help my kids . I have buddied up
with parents through soccer, baseball, dance, rugby and recreational activities. I offer to pay gas or take the other parent out to lunch every so often.
It is a give and take. I have asked perfect strangers in a eh park to point out my child when I lost track of them and was alone. Most the time I went
with sighted friends and family. But the special times of cuddling and night time routines is mine alone with my kids. Sight or no sight there is nothing
like being a parent. Confidence and love need nurture and come from the heart, not the eyes. I think the parents should give the girl the cancer to make
her own choice about children. Maybe she will choose no on her own. Maybe she will marry and choose yes. The choice is hers.

Lisa McGauley, Vancouver B.C.

**55. That's really awful! That little girl should have the choice to have kids or not when it's time, and her parents should not, not, not ever be able to take such choices away from her! Did this really happen? Are these real people in this story, and is it too late to stop this from happening to this real person?

Nancy Lynn St. Louis, MO

**56. No chance in Hell! Although my first wife and I agonized over the decision to have or not have any children, there's no way that decision was anyone else's. I think that we must all respect the decision of others to choose to refrain from having children so that their eye condition isn't passed on, but we must also respect the decision of those of us who just want to raise children no matter the risk involved.

The doctors couldn't tell me why I began to lose sight at the age of 21, but after long hours of agonizing discussion we decided to go for it and my boys were born when I was 27 and 30. So far they aren't showing signs of vision impairment, but as their mother said at the time, the most important thing for me to do was to live life as if blindness didn't ruin my life. That way they would have a positive role model to learn from. I think that's what I did so that at 19 and 22 they seem to be fairly well adjusted. Only time will tell for sure though.

If you want to learn about a time when this was being practiced in Canada, order and read the book called "Journey to Independence, the story of blindness in Canada". It tells of this practice from the 1940's and before.
Check out the CNIB Library Web Sight at, www.cnib.ca

Thx, Albert Ruel, Victoria BC Canada

**57. I don’t usually like to respond twice to thought provokers, let alone to do so right after I’ve already submitted my own tuppence. But as a self-styled
armchair philosopher, I think it right and appropriate to respond to Resps. #21 and 22. I hope that for the most part, my thoughts won’t be taken as attempts
at offense, but I intend to respond appropriately while at the same time doing so in the strongest possible terms. In doing so, I feel it right to quote
extensively, where necessary, from these responses.

Resp. #21 says: "I usually enjoy reading these very
thoughtfully written pieces. However--this months piece is just plain sick. I don’t like the fact that the piece is even out there, with the ability to be circulated around, for all the world to see and perhaps for one demented individual to draw an idea from. I
elected not to have children--my choice completely. All of us who have disabilities and those who work on a daily basis as advocates and teachers of people with disabilities--have fought long and hard for everyone in this world

to have choices. I don’t even like an idea like this floating around. Disgusting."

I should like to ask the following: (1) Is the thought provoker, and thus by extension Ms. Cranston, sick, or is it that the thoughts and views of Sabrina’s
parents, and what actions may arise from those thoughts, are the real sickness here? If the author intends to show that Sabrina’s father has what many
of us feel is a sick view about blindness, then how has she failed to show it, especially if she, or rather Sabrina’s father, has angered, disgusted and
outraged you? If she’s succeeded in demonstrating the father’s improper viewpoints, and if you indeed feel angry, disgusted and outraged by them, why should
she be condemned for doing this? Could you please demonstrate for the class that Ms. Cranston’s views are those of Sabrina’s father? What are Sabrina’s
feelings about her father’s views? To what words can you point to show that she believes as her father does? Is it, or is it not true, that the last words
of this thought provoker are the following:

""Your mother and I have been doing a lot of thinking. Since you were born blind,

and so was your Uncle Pete, it seems that your blindness runs in the family. In a

few years, when you're a little older, we're going to take you to a doctor and he

will fix it so you can't have kids. We don't want you to have to worry about keeping

your kids safe when you can't see them. But most important, we don't want to take

the chance on you having a blind child. We're going to have this done before you

turn eighteen, so signing all the papers will be our responsibility and one more

thing you won't have to worry about.""?

Perhaps you can show us all that Sabrina has in fact responded to her father. Or perhaps I’ve simply neglected to quote accurately the text contained in
Ms. Cranston’s work. Perhaps Ms. Cranston has neglected to complete her thoughts. Does Ms. Cranston feel the need to do so? Does she feel the need to defend
herself and her words? I don’t think she does, but if so, isn’t it only my opinion? If my opinion is different from yours, I suppose you’d want that suppressed
so that you wouldn’t be offended.

(2) So if you don’t like the fact that this piece is even out there, and you’re worried that some psychopath, a la Hitler for instance, will find an idea
upon which to act, what makes you think someone hasn’t already acted on those ideas countless times before this piece was ever written and disseminated
to the general public? I mentioned Hitler because this is precisely what happened at one time. Are you offended by that fact? Are the rest of us not offended
by that fact? If so, should we then pretend it out of existence and not even show documentaries about Hitler on the History Channel, for instance? Should
we burn anything ever written about Hitler for fear that even his very name will give a potential psychopath an idea on which he or she can base a program
of extermination? And even if we do, you will convince me, please, that there is absolute assurance that elimination of such ideas through such manipulations
will lead to 100% assurance that they will never again be promulgated at any time in the future, forever and ever amen, or as long as human beings are
on this planet. Otherwise, with all due respect, grow up and realize that these are not new ideas and they’re probably not going away any time soon. And
you may want to consider this: Wouldn’t you rather have been exposed to Mein Kampf in 1924 or 1925, shortly after Hitler wrote it, and long before he came
to power? Perhaps you don’t realize this, but the King of Denmark did read it. He made sure, according to my understanding, to get as many of Hitler’s
future victims out of there before, once Hitler came to power, he could wreak the kind of havoc he eventually did on others. What if you were in his position?
Are you saying you’d rather suppress Hitler’s ideas, or are you willing to take the risk that these disgusting thoughts could be widely disseminated and
that a potential Raul Wallenberg or king of Denmark might act as a savior to several hundred thousand, if not a few million, people based on those words?
And in that same regard, if Ms. Cranston really does believe the same words as Sabrina’s father, which I don’t think she does, but again you never know
without asking, aren’t you glad now that you know it? I am because I can more readily oppose her if I must do so.

(3) Where in Ms. Cranston’s piece is there any indication of her desire to counter your and my discretions to render sound judgments not to have children,
or for that matter, to change our minds? Where is there any counter indication that she disagrees with disabled people’s rights to effectively render those
decisions? Where in that piece is there a desire to interfere with those rights?

(4) Isn’t the name of this website "Thought Provoker? Isn’t the aim of this site to provoke thought? Shouldn’t we get angry, sad, depressed or incensed
every once in a while, or are we all just supposed to sit here and write only about sunshine and lollipops? You can disagree with the father’s determination
to force his daughter to be sterilized, but are you denying that people have these thoughts? Hasn’t Ms. Cranston provoked thought by helping to bring some
unpleasantness to our attention, or is she supposed to sit in a corner and cower in fear because she might offend you? Should we not be angry that the
father in this story has these thoughts? Where again in Ms. Cranston’s piece is there the slightest suggestion that even she espouses the father’s beliefs?
How much thought would we be provoking if we stayed away from inoffensive ideas? Why don’t we all just stay home and watch Barney? And just who do you
think you are to enforce that kind of lifestyle on me? If I want to be offended, dammit, you’ll just have to deal! And if I don’t want to be offended,
you’ll just have to deal with my saying what offends me, while simultaneously respecting my decision to grant to others the right to offend me if they
can. And with all due respect, I might also suggest that you take some reading comprehension courses. They might come in handy.

Now for Response #22:

"As educators, we find in the Western canon an historic trend of literature, humanities and scientific inquiries replete with a compulsive mythologizing,
whether through glorification or vilification, of individuals who possess a distinct trait and or quality not commonly found within a given population."
I agree. But that’s the risk we take whenever anyone here attempts to put down any sort of thought through the use of pen and ink, or for that matter,
through the use of an electronic stylus like a keyboard. But now: "As educators we need a forum to discuss these issues in a respectful and critical

manner to not entertain quasi ethical considerations vis-a-vis "provokers" but more

importantly to aid in dismantling perennial myths without restricting student's choices

to develop their own ontological beliefs."

Huh? How has Ms. Cranston’s piece restricted students’ choices in terms of developing "their own ontological beliefs?" Isn’t she asking the students, who
I assume we are for the purpose of this discussion, to formulate our own thoughts on the matters set forth in her scenario? At the very worst, isn’t she,
through her words, and indeed through the words of one of her characters, exposing the reality of some others’ ways of thinking? If most of us disagree
with the character’s decision to make a decision for his daughter that she should make for herself when she’s old enough to do so, then shouldn’t we get
angry over the possibility that this is precisely what she might not be allowed to do? Moreover, what prevents us, as students, from critically thinking
about the views expressed by Sabrina’s father, and discussing them in a calm, rational manner? If we don’t, and if we choose instead to engage in shouting
matches and condemnations of the author for telling us something we already know – namely that there are actually people in the world who believe as Sabrina’s
father does? And by engaging in such negativity, are we not consenting to be the victims of the irrational thoughts he holds?

And now: "As TVI/OM etc., our focus on human development over the lifespan compels us to not only promote self-determination; individual choices for life
and community inclusion,

but it also requires that we simultaneously dismantle the perennial stigmatization and marginalization of individuals whose essential human experiences
are impaired

by the social world's obsession with stratification. If we reflect upon the tragedies

of the 20th century a very tragic lesson awaits realization; the worst forms of human

objectification and marginalization are always sanctioned by "experts" with over

privileged notions of expertise."

It seems to me that through her story, Ms. Cranston has satisfied the first part of this test. I.e., by presenting to us a scenario in which a child just
on the cusp of adolescence, if not already there, is enlightened by the negative viewpoints of her father about blindness, she (Ms. Cranston) has already
put the issues of self-determination, individual choice and inclusion into the community squarely on the table. It also seems to me that by setting forth
on paper (or in electronic format, in this case) the negative views about blindness held by Sabrina’s father, Ms. Cranston is on the road to possibly assisting
us in the effort to "dismantle the perennial stigmatization and marginalization of individuals whose essential human experiences are impaired by the social
world’s obsession with stratification." In other words, if Ms. Cranston’s aim in setting forth the views about blindness held by Sabrina’s father was to
anger and upset us, and if we on this website believe just the opposite as he does, then we already know, or rather suspect, that Sabrina may be a bright
young woman with the ability and desire to make her own choices and judgments, thank you very much, and that she is in danger of having those choices contravened
by those who are supposed to love her. Of course this is only my interpretation, and perhaps I’m the one in need of reading comprehension courses.

Finally: "The privilege to openly disseminate thoughts vis-a-vis a Listserv, publication or alternative forum must be tempered with a more nuanced understanding of how privileged misused breeds a sense of entitlement--to be "heard"--without full consideration of others. Hence a real advocate and educator reflexively weighs what they express considering the potential risk of having their rhetoric misconstrued. as their views, for pragmatically instructive purposes while considering the potential risk of having their rhetoric misconstrued."

I agree that ideally, a "real educator" (whatever that might mean) "reflexively weighs what they express considering the potential risk of having their
rhetoric misconstrued. as their views, for pragmatically instructive purposes while considering the potential risk of having their rhetoric misconstrued."

I think that what Ms. Caplan is trying to say is that Ms. Cranston, by presenting to us for consideration a character in a story with negative views about
blindness, is attempting to act as an educator and advocate, and that if so, she should take heed that the rhetoric she uses, as represented by the words
of Sabrina’s father, might be misconstrued by others as her own thoughts. Speaking plainly, I don’t know Ms. Cranston from President Millard Fillmore,
but I can guess from her words that she does not espouse the same views as she attributes to Sabrina’s father. But again, I’ve taken the liberty of interpreting
her words myself because I only had so many words with which to work.

I’ll now paraphrase what I said in my last response: I was indeed angered, upset and outraged at Sabrina’s father. But there are grains of truth in every
work of fiction, which this was. And in literature you have to have a conflict, else you get an uncompelling story. I was pretty compelled here even if
I was angry. But when I sit down to read a story about a man in an open boat battling a hurricane, I want to be scared and frightened for him. If I decided
to read a sprawling novel where there are grand confrontations afoot, I want those confrontations to be compelling! I want a villain I can love to hate!
I don’t want everyone sitting there philosophizing about Aristotelian logic for no apparent purpose, or whining about how miserable their childhood was
because they didn’t have a Nintendo or something.

Again, I compliment Ms. Cranston on her choice of subject and on how well she handled it. Of course, this is entirely my opinion. Perhaps we should suppress

–John D. Coveleski, Minneapolis, MN (johncoveleski@mindspring.com)

**58. I realize some people may like to think that situations like the one described in this thought provoker don't happen, but they do. I knew a girl in high
school (1995-1999) who was visually impaired and had other impairments as well. Her parents made the decision to have her "fixed." She didn't have any
say in the matter. I don't even know if they told her what they were going to do beforehand or not. It does happen. It's an unfortunate reality. Just
because we don't like it doesn't make it any less real.
I've read complaints about this, but I haven't seen any suggestions that could be used to help this girl assert her wishes. Isn't that the point of these
thought provokers? To present a situation so we can think about how we would respond if we were in that situation. Yes, maybe it is a fictional situation
now but who knows whether it will stay that way forever. It's like a fire drill. You practice so that in the event that something like that happens
you will be prepared. All the thought provokers are directly related to events in the lives of people with visual impairments. They focus on social aspects
of VI life (which IS covered in the expanded core curriculum, if I am not mistaken). If we are aware that situations like this may still be happening
we can address them before they become an issue for VI children. You have to take the good with the bad here folks.

As I said, I didn't see suggestions for the Sabrina. What should her TVI do? If I was her TVI I would first try to find out what her wishes are. Does
she want children? How does she feel about her father's statement? Why does she think her parents feel the way they do?

I would also try talking to her parents, individually, so I could get a sense for how they really feel. I say individually because maybe it is only the
father who wants this and not the mother. She may be going along with it because of the dynamics of their relationship. If I talk to them separately
I may get an honest answer, not just one motivated by fear or submission.

My first question to the parents would be "What was so bad about having a blind child?" I might even follow that up with, "If you could do it all again,
knowing Sabrina would be blind, and knowing what she is like, would you still want her?" Yeah, I know that's a loaded question. But the answer would
get right to the heart of their feelings about blindness.

Sabrina is 12 so I would try to set up situations where she is responsible for younger children so that she can demonstrate her abilities to her parents
and to anyone else who doubts her parenting ability.

I would also try to introduce Sabrina and her family to families in which one or both of the parents are visually impaired so she and her parents could
get a sense of what the real problems may be and how that family has dealt with them.
If all that didn't work and Sabrina's parents were still determined to have the procedure done, I would consult a lawyer to find out what the laws are regarding
this in the state and what legal steps may be needed to prevent it.
In case you're wondering, I am visually impaired myself, and have been since birth. I KNOW that if I choose to have a child s/he will have a 50/50 chance
of inheriting my condition because it is genetic and dominant. It ranges from mild (just a carrier) to severe (no eyes at all), and I have a moderately
severe form of it. My mother has this condition too (it's where I got it from), and so does my younger sister. This is actually relevant to my family
because after my sister was born the doctors convinced my mother that she would be better off not being able to have any more children. This was not due
entirely to blindness; my sister has other problems, but the opinion was still that no more children with these problems should be brought into this world.
My mother has expressed regret about this in the past, though it's a moot point now.
I know this is long-winded, but once I get started on a topic sometimes it is hard for me to stop, and some of the reactions to this thought provoker added
fuel to my fire.

P.S. If a separate list is started for these thought provokers I would like to join it. They're really interesting. I've even experienced some of the things
that have been discussed. Thanks.

Gina AERnet list

**59. That's disgusting! It's the girl's own choice if she wants to have children when she gets older. I used to fear my father would do the same thing - or
take my kids away from me if I had any - because he had no faith in me as a disabled person. I chose not to have children, but I also am hearing impaired
and have a walking problem. It sounds like the blind parents did a better job at raising their kids than the sighted ones too. Inability or lack of desire
to control children in stores or eateries is a major problem for parents today. That's disgraceful too.

Patricia H. New York

**60. In responding to this thought provoker, I must admit that I have somewhat of an inside track. I am the proud fiancée of the author, and therefore, I know
that Ms. Cranston doesn't agree with the ideas expressed by the father in this story. However, even if she did, that would not render this thought provoker
null and void. Ideas that generate outrage, discomfort, and concern are the ideas that can change us, reshape us, and motivate us. We should never repress
ideas that we do not find palatable, because by doing so, we allow such ideas to fester in the background, like infections that go untreated until they
suddenly flare up to become life-threatening.

In response 21, Dr. Morrow seems to feel that because the idea of forcing someone to be sterilized in order to prevent the birth of a potentially blind
child is offensive, that it is an idea we shouldn't dare discuss.
Our society, until relatively recent times, has been extremely adept at sweeping its seamiest secrets under the carpet. Such secrets as spousal abuse,
child molestation, and others were considered things that "nice people" didn't discuss. Is there anyone reading this response that isn't outraged by the
fact that little children are abused and/or molested in this world each and every day? If we choose not to talk about this, will such abuse end? If we
choose to ignore the presence of such things, are we creating an environment that will tend to eliminate such hideous practices? I believe that history
answers this question with a resounding "no!". We should be outraged and offended, not by the fact that someone wrote about this subject, but rather
by the fact that there are individuals in this world who might well agree with the father's point of view! We must, albeit reluctantly, face the fact
that there are those in our society who believe that to bring a disabled child into this world is more than a tragedy, that it is simply wrong! And,
we must also realize that there are still many who feel that a blind person is simply not capable of performing the duties that parenthood implies. Since
there have been a number of responders to this thought provoker who can attest to the fact that they have been successful parents, and since I know quite
a few blind parents, I can say without any reservations, that blind individuals have been wonderful parents, and not so wonderful parents, which is the
case with sighted parents as well.
Remember, that if we freely discuss that which concerns us, that which we find offensive, we foster a forum where all ideas contribute to the mix. I firmly
believe that those of us who have read this thought provoker and responded to it have been challenged, and we have met that challenge. We have been given
the privilege that free expression bestows, we have made it known that we can clearly and rationally present evidence that renders the ignorance and short-sightedness
of Sabrina's father to be a measurable and disputable quantity!

Robert, keep 'em coming! We all need to exercise our minds, and fortify our hearts!

Rich Ring Des Moines, IA.

**61. There are whole religions built around the idea of thinking/voicing only the positive, depending on one's perception of what positiveness is. However,
to do this leads to unbalanced and unrealistic thinking. We need to accept and learn to handle all aspects of life that we and others we care about will
deal with in their lifetimes.

I think that some people need to realize that, sensitive as this subject is, sterilization of females with disabilities has happened for real and I would
hope that females, especially, would understand bringing it up.
Not once have people seemed too surprised when I mention my daughter. Out here in WA, few have actually seen her and I've had the feeling that more than
once I was not believed. Not long ago a woman who considers herself to be "legally blind, talking about it at the top of her voice whenever she gets a
chance, said, in front of other people "I can't believe you have a daughter; how could you raise a child when you can't see?" I told her I think I did
a better job than my sighted mother did in raising me, which I believe is factual. My daughter is now in graduate school, working, feeling the normal
stresses of balancing work and school and raising 2 cats; I think she is doing fine.
One time, when my daughter was young, some woman on a bus whispered "Did you mean to have her?" Thank goodness my daughter didn't hear it; but I did.
One time, she kiddingly asked if she'd been adopted; I think someone in her circle of "friends" had asked about it.


Lauren Merryfield Everett, WA

**62. Wow, I missed this one until now. Amazing what our parents can do and can't do for us. Because of some recent events in my life, I have become increasingly grateful for the way in which I was raised. My parents were super, often strict, sometimes made mistakes, but always treated me with love and respect. It is because of their loving kindness and also because of their lessons in common sense that I am the person I am today.

This thought provoker makes us angry because we cannot conceive (pun
intended) of people actually doing this to others. However, I would like to revisit the comments someone made about The Deaf Community.
Yes, my friends, hundreds of our fellow PWD were sterilized merely because they were deaf! Hundreds of PWD were sterilized in Germany before Hitler even thought of going after the Jews.

As for the father's reaction, it is cruel and inhuman. I guess Mother Theresa said it best when asked by someone about birth control. "Are you afraid of children?" she asked. I suppose this is no worse than a parent who would allow a teenaged daughter to experience extortion because the parents felt that since the teenager was blind she had to pay for herself and her friends whenever they went out.

No it's not pleasant. No it's not easy. No it's not comfortable.
However, Thought Provoker it is, yes, it calls for thought, calls forth a vocal response! I don't think writings which ask people to think are bad. You may not agree with what is written, but you have to think about it in order to determine if you disagree. This is not the same as reading instructions for building a bomb. this is a piece with a value judgment attached. That makes all the difference.

Ann K. Parsons
email: akp@eznet.net
WEB SITE: http://home.eznet.net/~akp

**63. It is true that certain kinds of visual
impairment carry the genetic disposition, but are any of the parents we have seen here medically qualified to make such decisions for their children? Think about that for a while as you are looking for some quack to sterilize your child in order to prevent someone like Helen Keller or Homer from being born.

Dick Myers

**64. This may be slightly off topic, as it doesn't deal with threatened sterilization, but I believe it's still close enough to be relevant to the topic being discussed.

There was neither name for nor understanding of the cause of my blindness while I was growing up. Due to similar symptoms showing up in one of my nephews combined with recent medical advances, we now believe it to be X-recessive exudative vitreoretinopathy.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, our doctor (at the time) was very concerned that our baby might inherit my blindness. He had me reassessed, and, as I'd come to expect, no one back then could figure out what the cause was. He finally resorted to a plain old guess that there probably was a 50% chance that our baby would be blind. With that in mind, he took me aside one day and asked me if, given this possibility, I wanted our baby aborted (of course, he used much more euphemistic terminology). Since being blind didn't seem to be causing me all that much trouble, and since, to both my wife and I, abortion is no less than cold-blooded, premeditated murder of a real, live, not yet born, human being, I refused his hideous offer.

As it turned out, we ended up moving half way across the country during that pregnancy. Our baby was born without being blind, so much for that doctor's guess. We went back to visit our parents and to introduce our baby to them about a year after he was born. As part of that visit, we just couldn't resist paying a friendly visit to the "good" doctor. We brought our healthy and active year-old son along and didn't need to say a word. The doctor was brought to tears.

Since then, by the way, we've been very richly blessed with twelve more children, and three grandchildren as well. While none of them is blind, if we're right, the believed X-recessive attribute means that any female descendant could be a carrier and that each of their sons could be affected as well as be a carrier. None of our seven daughters is bothered by this.

Dave Mielke | 2213 Fox Crescent |
Phone: 1-613-726-0014 | Ottawa, Ontario |
EMail: dave@mielke.cc | Canada K2A 1H7 |
http://FamilyRadio.com/ | http://Mielke.cc/bible/

**65. I am truly thrilled to see that everyone believes in people having their own right to choose whether or not to have children. My husband has RP and
we were told that he had a recessive gene, not to worry, go ahead and have kids. We had four lovely children. They all have inherited the RP. I asked
them if I had known they would be born with RP and had chosen not to have them via sterilization, would that have been the way to go. They all chorus
a loud NO. One of my daughters, however, when she was a teenager, became so angry about loosing her eyesight, that she demanded that I take her to a doctor
and sign to have her sterilized. I gave her a loud, NO. I told her if she wanted to have that done when she was an adult and was married, then she could
do so but that I would not even participate in having her sterilized. She changed her mind and now has two adopted children and two children by birth.
I am glad that I let her make her own choices. The genetic councilor told us that our children have a 50/50 chance of passing on the RP. One married
child has chosen not to have children by birth, but two have had children. One child is still not married. It is their choice and we stand behind them
100% whatever that choice is. Life itself is beautiful and it is what you make it, blind or sighted makes no difference, it is attitude that makes the


**66. I don't understand, I thought that was a good provoker. Do these
people feel hiding their head in the sand pretending it doesn't happen will
solve the problem? Some how people will change their attitude just by not
talking about it? Don't they know only by acknowledgment will the problem
come to light and be truly
understood and dealt with! Just like child abuse in my day


…FROM ME: You know, there are some of us who, being very strongly effected by this notion of forced sterilization, that the upper most reaction to its public display is to stand up and say, “Don’t put it out there, there can be crazies who may read it and will be swayed by this too public of a story, therapeutic discussion or no.”

**67. I do wonder why people are strongly objecting to this story so much. anyone would think that they felt uneasy with the choices they might have made about
having children. or could it be that they them selves feel that blind people are indeed a burden on society. interesting!

Jayne Connor
Carlisle social services

…FROM ME: I Wrote Jayne back and asked what the status was there in the UK about sterilization of the blind. Was it legal and were people doing it?

...She wrote back- no I'm not. if I do hear anything I'll let you know.

Jayne Connor
Carlisle social services

**68. I think this TP, while containing a grain of truth, is more a tool with which we can pierce the heart of darkness of sighted attitudes towards the blind
as parents. This short story allows us to travel at hyper-speed to the core of sighted fears, doubts, and disbeliefs about the blind as parents. We have
all read of, experienced, and shared similar stories about how the sighted see children of the blind as constantly in peril, the blind as incompetent parents,
and the thought of spreading blindness to another generation a nearly criminal act.
However, I think we ought to understand that while eugenic efforts to sterilize blind adults, and some children, is part of the historical record, no doctor
today would perform such a surgery without endangering his or her license to practice medicine. Irrespective of what the father might think or say, no
parent can forcibly have a child under 18 surgically sterilized. This is not to say that such a thing can never happen, but I think we ought to be careful
not to fall pray to sensationalism.

Brian Miller El Cerrito, CA

...FROM ME: I wrote an e-mail to the NFB blind lawyers list and asked if any of them had resources to check this out for us.

**69. Wow, this is something I, myself, have been confronted with on more than a few occasions. I am choosing to remain anonymous, because I don't wish to have
my personal details open for the entire world, but my story is an important one. When I had retno blastoma at the age of two, my parents asked the doctors
to have my tubes tied. My mother had had a brother with downs, but the doctors told them it was unethical for them to do this procedure on a girl at this
age. As I grew up, they found that I loved kids and entrusted me to supervise the foster children placed in our home. This was not easy since most of
them had a criminal background.
Fast forward to the age of 27. I was dealing with some medical issues that I trusted my doctor to correct. That was so incredibly stupid, because I submitted
to surgery. When I woke, it was to the news that I had no hope of having children. To say that I was devastated is not even slightly comprehending the
pain I experienced. There was also the question, "If I could see, would the doctor have made a different choice?" I also fumed at the understanding that
I was so effectively cut off from the information that may have changed the outcome of the surgery. This was before the internet was widely available
for research. Just after surgery, I met and married my husband. The idea that we could not have children did not make the desire go away.
We learned of one chance to have a biological child. We had the opportunity to have a biological child if another woman carried our baby. Then, I discovered
what a challenge this is. We exhausted the list of friends and family. It even caused a civil war in the family, and a few people do not speak to us
to this day. I joined an internet group and began the search for a carrier. I was turned down again and again, because the carriers/surrogates would
not give up a baby to someone who could not keep the baby safe. An online friend did a pole of surrogates, and she sent me the responses. Most said that
they would not perpetuate or contribute to blindness or endangering a child by entrusting that baby to a blind person. It seemed that babies were so out
of the question. Adoption agencies did not like working with blind people either. So, I joined an online group where surrogates and intended parents
communicate about fertility issues or life in general. At first, they were not aware of my blindness. Then, I explained, and they began to ask questions.
We met our carrier via this group, and she got to know me, online, before we met. When we met, I was teaching two blind girls to fry hamburger. She
thought, "What could be more normal than this?" We attempted to work with her reproductive endocrinologist who wouldn't work with me due to my blindness.
He was from an Arabic background and was not open to helping an imperfect specimen reproduce. We chose to work with my reproductive endocrinologist who
was so dedicated to helping us, he put us on a special prayer list. We learned, this week, that our carrier is now pregnant with our own, biological baby.
The purpose in telling this story is two fold. First, when sighted people have a chance to help a blind, potential parent, they aren't always understanding.
Those who are open to education and ideas are the best advocates to help make changes. Second, despite the extreme obstacles, there can be hope at the
end of the tunnel. I firmly believe that we will be the best parents we can be, and understand how truly precious this miracle is to those who want it.


P.S. To those wishing to ask about fertility issues from a VI perspective, please contact Robert. I give him permission to forward any questions to me.

**70. The story about Sabrina pretty much confirms what I suspect of the world-in-general.
I remember reading a similar (and true) story about a woman with her own peculiar birth defect. I think her name is Brie Walker, but I'm not sure. She
was born with deformed hands: all the fingers on each hand were fused together. She cannot separate them. Despite this unusual deformity, she grew up like
any normal woman, and got married. Then she got pregnant.
The doctor told her there was a good chance her baby would have the same hand deformity. And he did. It didn't bother her, though it did raise some eyebrows.
A few years later, she became pregnant again. This time, there was no guesswork. A DNA test revealed that the unborn boy also inherited the deformity.
Somehow, word of this leaked out, and it raised a firestorm of controversy. One abortion advocate practically demanded that this baby be aborted. The
mother said no.
I remember reading this item, but I don't remember when, or in what magazine. Does anyone have any idea?
It doesn't surprise me, though. The world is going in that direction. People are becoming cruel and heartless, for the sake of "Survival of the Fittest."


**71. First, in reading the responses against posting such a thought provoker as this, I think that you, Sarah Cranston, did right to send in the narrative
and you, Robert, did right in posting it. It not only raises awareness that such backwards thinking that blind people shouldn't have children so that
blindness cannot be passed on does still exist, but it also should open dialog of shared experiences among blind people of conversations they had with
their parents about being future parents and the reactions spawned from those conversations we had with our parents. There are always newcomers to the
Thought Provoker list who may or may not be aware that such backwards thinking does still exist. There are also newcomers to this list who may have had
the same experience as Sabrina but don't realize that there are many of us out here who have also had the same similar experiences. People on lists, like
Thought Provoker, need to feel that they're not alone in this world and the experiences they have had regardless of the issue--blindness, parenting, employment,
whether or not to have children, etc.
Second, a respondent asked the rhetorical question as to whether or not this thought provoker sounded like eugenics. In my opinion, the answer is "yes
it is eugenics". Sabrina's dad telling her that she shouldn't have children so that she doesn't pass her blindness on is equivalent to Hitler and the
Aryan race to remain pure. To say that blind and disabled people shouldn't have children is the same as saying that Jews, Blacks, and anybody else who
is not of the Aryan race shouldn't have children either and, thus, should be sterilized and killed. With that narrow-minded Hitler-like attitude Sabrina's
dad had, then, it's amazing that he didn't go as far as to say to Sabrina, "not only should we have you fixed, but we should have you killed as well so
that you blind people aren't polluting the human race". It is the fact that there are people, even young people, who still think this way to this day
that is appalling, not the fact that such a narrative was posted to this forum.
When research on my eye condition was done through various eye exams, it was made clear to my adoptive parents that my blindness is hereditary. I didn't
fully understand at ten years old what that really meant other than the fact that any children I gave birth to ran the risk of being blind also. I thought,
"well, if they are born blind, then they are. I would just deal with it as it comes along the way learning about my own blindness was dealt with. The
only difference is that I would know what to expect of my blind child because I, myself, am blind." It wasn't until during my teen years in biology class
when we were talking about the abortion issue that I truly realized what the big issue was about my having children. Not only was the issue concerning
hereditary blindness being a risk, but the other issue was a blind person being able to care for children in general. After all, you have to chase after
the child once he/she gets to learning how to walk and then run; you have to be able to make sure that he/she doesn't get into anything that will harm
him/her; etc. While my adoptive parents and I have never really had deep conversations on my want to be a parent someday and the issues surrounding that
dream, one of my classmates asked me what my position was on abortion. While I am pro-choice, I, myself, refuse to abort just because he/she is blind,
a diabetic, or whatever, or just because I'm blind and have to keep up with a child who's going to constantly get into everything. Not only do I love
children despite their hell-raising from time to time, but blindness or the possibility of an "undesired" trait will be passed on is not grounds for me
to not want to be a mother. Some of my classmates agreed on my stance, but there were others who felt I was being unfair in my refusal to abort.
In my early twenties and dating, whenever I brought up the possibility of raising a family with my dates, the men would become very quiet. In cases
when I didn't get a chance to even mention that my blindness was hereditary, the issue, though not spoken, was having a blind wife and the fear of having
to take care of her (me) and the children. In the cases when I did get a chance to mention that my blindness was hereditary, then the issue, though also
not spoken, was the fear of children being born blind and what he was going to do with a blind wife and a bunch of blind kids. I had only two dates who
were blind; all the others were sighted. While the conversation about family never came up with the first one, it did with the second one. The second
blind man initially was excited about the possibility of having children, but he soon started having his doubts. Having blind children wasn't the problem.
rather, he didn't think that he could help me care for children because he was blind. What it basically boiled down to is that he lacked self-confidence
because of the way his parents raised him. It wasn't until John and I met that I finally found someone who accepted me for me instead of judging me for
my blindness or worrying about how he was going to take care of me. It wasn't until John and I met that I found someone who would accept any children
that we have being blind. In fact, not only did it make me feel good to know that I found someone who would accept blind children, but it also made him
feel good to know that I would accept children who were diabetic and had allergies and illnesses John currently has or had as a child.
We've been together for nearly ten years now but still don't have children. We've tried, though. Even though we don't have the money, we've discussed
adoption and have agreed to adopt children who are blind or have some other kind of physical disability. His ex-wife, however, holds the belief that
John and I shouldn't have children because it would be unfair to the children to have two disabled parents--me being blind and John with a spinal cord
injury. She believes that we would have great difficulty keeping up with the child running around and getting into everything. She doesn't see how we
could do all the things able-bodied parents do with their children--taking them on trips, playing ball, etc. While I'd become used to people expressing
such narrow-minded attitudes and gained the strength not to let it get to me, John, on the other hand, couldn't shuck her comment off as easily. It made
him just as furious as I got when my classmates in high school who disagreed with my refusal to abort made me when they said the same thing John's ex did.
The words his ex spewed so effortlessly about how unfair we were being about wanting children horrified him. Part of it was that he didn't think that
his ex had such strong beliefs as this, but it was also the fact that the Hitler-like attitude was just as alive in the ten years we've been together as
it was during the Nazi era and previous.
So, just because Sabrina and others like Sabrina (men and women alike) have parents, relatives, and friends who believe that they shouldn't have children
because of their disability or their race doesn't mean that they should follow that attitude. If Sabrina and others like her want to have children, then
they should be allowed to freely do so. As for whether or not the medical doctors should lose their medical license for performing sterilization procedures,
the way to get around this debate is for people like Sabrina to be allowed to wait until she's eighteen to decide whether or not she wants to be "fixed".
Whatever the procedures are to nullify that her wish to be sterilized is with her consent, that procedure should be followed. After all, people get vasectomies
and their tubes tied for reasons other than to prevent having children for fear of an "undesirable" trait being passed on. Some just don't want children
at all, others who have children don't want anymore children, etc.


**72. Robert,
Here is an announcement of a book that might interest you.

Brian Miller

----- Original Message -----
Date: Mon Oct 24, 2005 11:42:14 AM US/Pacific


We've just released:
Lady Eugenist: Feminist Eugenics in the Speeches and Writings of
Victoria Woodhull.
For now in hard back, in paperback with hardback and ebook versions to soon follow.

Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for President and with her
sister, the first woman to be a Wall Street stockbroker. She also
campaigned vigorously for a woman's right to vote. Yet few of her
biographers have noted that of all her accomplishments, she seemed most
proud of her promotion of eugenics from the early 1870s on. In what may
have been her last public statement, in 1927 the NY Times reported on
an interview in which she praised Buck v. Bell, a recent US Supreme
Court decision declaring forced sterilization constitutional and
claimed that she "advocated that fifty years ago."

This book contains the full text of all her major published speeches on
eugenics, which she called "stirpiculture" and "scientific
propagation." Five are those speeches are in clean and easily read
facsimile. In an introduction the book suggests that those documents
demonstrate that she was right when she claimed, in two 1912 London
papers, to have pioneered eugenics long before Francis Galton. It also
includes newspapers articles and advertisements of her speeches from
the early 1870s until the 1890s.

The book suggests in passing a topic that historians should
explore--that Victoria Woodhull may represent a second and earlier
source for eugenics that differs from that adopted from British
eugenists. In a 1893 speech on "The Scientific Propagation of the Human
Race" given at Carnegie Music Hall in New York City, Woodhull opened by
remarking that the "agitation" for scientific propagation began
"thirty-seven years" before. That would have been 1856, which predates
Galton's oft-mentioned 1865 magazine article on "Hereditary Talent" by
nine years and Charles Darwin's own theory of evolution by three years.

She gave no details but may have meant the "Science of Reproduction and
Reproductive Control: The Necessity of Some Abstaining from Having
Children..., "a book by J Soule that the Library of Congress dates to
1856 Ohio. At that time Woodhull was living in Ohio and the mother of a
young developmentally delayed son that she would sometimes allude to in
her speeches as an argument for eugenics. It seems likely that Woodhull
ideas about eugenics had the same source as her early ideas about free
love--the radical utopian sects that existed on the American frontier
in the 1840s and 1850s. She "mainstreamed" those ideas in the several
hundred speeches she gave across the United States in the 1870s and in
the several dozens speeches she gave in England after she moved there
in 1877. Woodhull, unafraid of controversy, provided the foundation
that the more cautious Galton and others would build on. And yet
because she was from a dubious background, poorly educated, twice
divorced, and once a sexual radical, except for H.G. Wells, they
refused to acknowledge her role.

The book, which brings under one cover hard to obtain texts by one of
the most influential women of nineteenth century America is intended as
a reference for historians of nineteenth century American history.

--Mike Perry, Inkling Books, Seattle

P.S. The Amazon description is at:

**73. I'm sure this provoker will elicit some pretty strong comments.
I can't believe that any parent in this day and age would think of having their daughter sterilized so she couldn't have children. It sounds pretty barbaric. Many of the blind people I know, myself included, raised children and the children have fared pretty well. Of course, they are not perfect and they are
not miracle workers who will help their blind parents at every turn. But they're not supposed to do that. Having children is a responsibility but the excitement
and happiness and relationships that these children bring is worth the years of responsibility spent in raising them. I will say that when I was pregnant
with my second child at age 36, my doctor asked if I wanted an amniocentesis. Even though my parents told me that they thought I should have it, I opted
to skip the test because I knew that we wouldn't give up the baby no matter what happened. And I'm glad I didn't.

Mary Jo Partyka New Jersey

**75. I am a mother of two children. My first Cora, is two years old and Mandy is six months. Mandy has Aniridia (this runs in our family)with complications
of glaucoma. We have decided not to have any more children due to what we have experienced with Mandy. I was told that I should look at this from Mandy's
point of view(this is normal for her). She is happy, loved everyday, the best thing we have ever created. We hope she falls in love in her life and If
she decides to have children then we will support her with what she wants. That is one thing that we should teach our children is independents and love.

Bobie Smith Pittsburgh Pa United States

**76. When I read this story, I was not sure what to think. As a blind person myself, and mother of two, I believe that blindness has nothing to do with raising
a child. I think that for a parent to say something like this to a child only shows that the parent(s) are not well educated about blindness and also
can be harmful to the Childs self esteem and confidence levels. As I said, I am a mother of two babies, 3 years and two months, and have no trouble at
all because of my blindness.

Jamie Sibson

**77. I normally do not suffer from high blood pressure, but reading your short story on the sterilization of a young blind girl, made my blood boil.
I am the proud mother and mother in law of a blind couple, who have been married for six years. They are parents to their two beautiful girls and share
custody of my son's two teenage boys. I personally would not trade my daughter in law for anyone. She amazingly cares for her home and children, works
full time, is considering graduate school, and serves as a terrific role model for all who are privileged to embrace her. My son has been the head of
a non-profit organization (Sports Vision 20/0) that promotes and encourages athletics and sports for the blind for 13 years. He personally plays Beep
Baseball, water skis, snow skis, rock climbs, has taken karate, and plays basketball. He has let his inconvenience define his life. My life has been
totally enriched by my experiences and observation of the blind for over 30 years.
The author of the short story is obviously a fearful and short sighted individual who might benefit from a broader perspective of humanity in general.
The very idea that sterilization of his daughter would make her life better is ludicrous. I thought Hitler was dead.

Rusty Reames Austin, Texas

**78. God with this one it makes me think, you I was blind in my right eye from birth more or less my hold life due to ROP {I know the meaning but can't spell
it to many large words] any how's with that like some of the other RESPONSES, it did make me cry I mean how can parents say that? So a family has two blind
people within the family it doesn't make it's runs in the family like its a DNA thing, *sighs* But yeah its just one of those things
parents do I guess.
So yeah that's all.

Sean A. Moore Age 18
Warner Robins, GA, USA