Papers, Articles, Reports & Submissions 2006 – 2010
This Paper canvasses issues relating to parenting for women with disabilities in Australia, and stems from the identified concerns of the members of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), along with the dearth of Australian research in the area. The right to found a family and to reproductive freedom is clearly articulated in a number of international human rights treaties to which Australia is a signatory. Yet, for many women with disabilities in Australia who are parents or seeking to become parents, these fundamental human rights are not achievable. Instead, as WWDA’s Policy Paper demonstrates, disabled women experience a range of barriers and restrictions in realising their rights to full reproductive freedoms, particularly their right to found and raise a family. These economic, social and environmental barriers and restrictions are many, varied, and entrenched – yet remain largely ignored in Australian family related research, legislation, policies, and services. WWDA’s Policy Paper includes a number of key recommendations to the Australian Government, in particular the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA), which is the Australian Government’s principal source of advice on social policy. Copyright WWDA May 2009.
This literature review was prepared for Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) in 2007 by Ann Storr whilst on a student placement at the national WWDA Office. Copyright WWDA 2007.
According to the medical profession the direction and scope of reproductive services such as IVF and pre-natal screening are based on solid evidence; the evidence indicates these are effective and safe services. Moreover, women want them. As a consequence these services are usually presented to the wider community in a positive light with images of ‘successful’ birth outcomes showcasing the importance of their work. Unsurprisingly this has lead to women being expected to take control – from timing a pregnancy to choosing one particular pregnancy over another – they are to improve their lives and the health of their offspring. But are these developments all ‘good’ news? Is it safe to assume the push to achieve better birth outcomes and the concomitant use of prenatal testing automatically improves lives? Could it be the issues raised are causing some lives to become harder? How meaningful, for example, are tests such as amniocentesis and CVS? As the mother of a child with Down syndrome I believe it is important for myself and other women in similar situations to share their lived experience. Perhaps we can illuminate some of the more complex and troubling issues these technological advances have the capacity to create – not only for ourselves – but for all women. Copyright 2007.