Invisibility of people with disabilities in media accounts of medical advances

The articles just keep coming about the advances in medicine that make high-risk pregnancies successful and increase survival rate of babies born very prematurely and/or with complications. The latest one I've come across is this one from MSNBC.

A small but growing number of women are successfully having children despite life-threatening conditions that once made a safe pregnancy almost inconceivable.

The article goes on to describe a highly educated and affluent mother who gave birth after a kidney transplant to a "healthy" (which I presume is used inaccurately here to mean healthy and also free of major disabilities) daughter. Named Madelyn, of course, but I digress.

The only mention of how these miracle children often have severe disabilities is one half-sentence, "Not all of these stories have happy endings," which I assume refers to children who don't survive as well as children who end up with disabilities, since children born with disabilities aren't mentioned anywhere else in the article. Since I'm making an assumption, I won't follow it with any attacks about labeling it "not a happy ending" when a child has a disability.

Anyway, my intent is not to make any judgments about who should or shouldn't have children or under what conditions. I don't believe that anyone should make such judgments, except for the particular family choosing whether to have a child. What really stands out to me in these articles is that none of them even mention -- let alone have names and photo -- the large number of children with disabilities who've been the result of high-risk pregnancies and cutting-edge medical technologies. There doesn't need to be any "moral" presented along with their mention, and there really shouldn't be. There should just be a mention that high-risk pregnancies and medical miracles result in a lot more children with disabilities than typical situations do. It would be great to see a photo of a parent and a child with a disability in addition to just the photo of Madelyn.


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