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Featured People on the Autism Spectrum Are Boycotting 'To Siri With Love'

Discussion in 'Autism Spectrum News, Events and Research' started by AGXStarseed, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    (Not written by me. Please click the source link at the bottom of the page to see the tweets in response to Judith Newman's statement)


    People on the autism spectrum are boycotting “To Siri With Love: A Mother, Her Autistic Son, and the Kindness of Machines,” a book written in 2016 by Judith Newman, a mother whose son is on the autism spectrum. In her book, Newman says she wants medical power of attorney when her son, who is currently 16, turns 18 so she can get him a vasectomy.

    (See the post here: Instagram post by Jorge Silva • Nov 29, 2017 at 8:31pm UTC)

    The boycott was started on Thursday by Amythest Schaber, an autistic person who makes Youtube videos and was described in Newman’s book as a “manic pixie dream girl” without consent. The Mighty reached out to Schaber, who declined to comment.

    People in the autism community have rallied around Shaber in support of the boycott, criticizing Newman’s views and portrayal of autistic people.

    Others have added negative reviews on Amazon, calling the book dangerous, despicable and ableist.

    Since the boycott began, Newman said she has received a death threat but stands by what she wrote. She told The Mighty in a statement that she believes much of what is being said is taken out of context.

    “I am going to insist Gus has a vasectomy,” Newman said, adding:

    The autistic community thinks I want him sterilized because I do not want the DNA of an autistic person to perpetuate. This could not be further from the truth. I want to be a grandmother! What I do not want is my son having a child he could not possibly take care of. This is my big fear. The truth is, I would never do this unless it was reversible.

    But in the book, I said I wanted to have the ability to decide on a vasectomy for him if he becomes sexually active at 18, and I make no apologies about that.​

    Despite Newman’s protests that people are taking her words out of context, without her son’s consent, Newman is still doing what advocates accuse her of: ignoring her son’s personal agency.

    “The decision whether to have children or not is a very personal one,” Christa Holmans, an autistic person who runs the blog Neurodivergent Rebel, told The Mighty. “I’ve chosen not to have children, a choice I made for myself. It would not be fair for someone else to make the choice for me.”

    According to Samantha Crane, legal director for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, someone who signs a medical power of attorney does not lose the ability to make their own decisions. Medical power of attorney gives the supporter (in this case, Newman) the right to assist in medical decision-making. The only time the supporter would make decisions is in a situation when the individual cannot make them, such as during a loss of consciousness.

    “I’m not aware of any state in the U.S. in which it would be legal to use a healthcare power of attorney in the way that this passage appears to be describing,” Crane told The Mighty.

    Crane said this doesn’t mean involuntary sterilization doesn’t happen in the U.S.

    “In many jurisdictions, court-appointed guardians are still allowed to consent to sterilization procedures without informed consent from a disabled child or adult, based solely on the belief that people with disabilities should not have children,” she said. “This is unacceptable and we support legislation that would protect all people with disabilities from this kind of abuse.”

    The U.S. has a dark history of forced sterilization with 31 states previously operating eugenics programs. Between 1933 to 1977, North Carolina sterilized an estimated 7,600 disabled, poor and uneducated people — an offense which the state apologized for in 2002. Despite states acknowledging that these programs are wrong, today some parents still attempt to ask courts as well as internet forums for guidance in regards to sterilizing their children.

    “Judith’s words take away her son’s rights to choose for himself and endanger autistic lives everywhere by setting a dangerous standard,” Holmans said. “We must not let this type of behavior become acceptable. Autistic people all over the world are joining together and speaking up against non-autistic people who talk over us. We want the chance to make our own decisions, and speak for ourselves.”


    Source: Autistic People Boycott Controversial Book Written by Mom of Teen on the Spectrum
     
  2. Riley

    Riley Well-Known Member

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    What Judith was planning and the way she said it is the equivalent of making child-eating monsters homosexual without remembering one of the oldest and most harmful stereotypes from those days.
     
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  3. Streetwise

    Streetwise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I wish somebody would sterilise her
     
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  4. Ameriblush

    Ameriblush Bird and Vidya game fan.

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    Did she ever give any specific reasoning as to why she thinks this?
     
  5. Rich Allen

    Rich Allen Well-Known Member

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    This woman needs to shut up.

    I've seen the film, it was a classic.
     
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  6. Ameriblush

    Ameriblush Bird and Vidya game fan.

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    Actually, is there a way I can get a PDF for this book?
     
  7. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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  8. Streetwise

    Streetwise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think her arrogant mindset is he is not neuro typical so how could he possibly have the nerve to care for a child he couldn't possibly do it as well as me
     
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  9. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    Just another classic case IMO of how some people were never meant to be a parent of any child, whether they are on the spectrum or not.
     
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  10. VioletHaze_03

    VioletHaze_03 Nerdling (Fledgling nerd)

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    i feel like the author was trying to do something good here, but she phrased her argument horribly. when you are marketing to autistics, it's not what you say but how you say it, and even then some of us might not understand the message that one is trying to get across, or might think it means something else. A lot of NTS may try to understand and look out for their ASD children, but they just don't know how to do it. this is why it's more important for the autistics to share our experiences and advice to the world, rather than have the NT's raising us do it. but in the author's case, the argument that people on the spectrum are incapable of taking care of children and therefore should be sterilized is ridiculous, no matter how you phrase it.
     
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  11. Gritches

    Gritches Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    How awful. That's all I have for this.
     
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  12. Ameriblush

    Ameriblush Bird and Vidya game fan.

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    So I actually looked up her twitter posts, and she responded to that Amethyst lady. Holy moly the author of this book sounds like a massive a-hole. And bratty. You gotta see for yourself. Actually, I can link the Screenshots if you want me to.
     
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  13. Gritches

    Gritches Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Please do
     
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  14. Ameriblush

    Ameriblush Bird and Vidya game fan.

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    • Informative Informative x 4
  15. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member

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    Whatever her intentions, her plan of action is deplorable.

    Why would she not at least try, before planning to violate his rights as a human being, to teach her son the basics of family planning and safer sex ad what it means to raise a child?

    Why would she not be trying to advocate for people with neurological (or really any other kind of) difficulties that affect their parenting to receive more support as parents? (e.g. Classes, independent living services, personal supports and guidance, financial assistance.)

    Would she say that all people with, say, depression or other mental illnesses (which can cause difficulties with raising a child in a number of areas) should be stripped of their rights as adults and then as human beings so that they can be forcibly sterilized as well?

    What about people who are blind or have mobility impairments that might make certain aspects of parenting difficult?

    What about people who have inherited the genes for one of those heritable diseases that you don't know if you will actually develop until you're at least 30 or 40 or older -- should they all be deemed as lacking mental capacity to make medical and/or reproductive decisions and then forcibly sterilized because they might choose to have children and then become ill and not be able to care for them independently?

    What about people who are poor and struggle to provide for their children materially and/or emotionally because of their socioeconomic status?

    What about those with brain injuries? How would she feel if she suffered a brain injury that called into question her ability to raise a child independently and somebody forcibly sterilized her?

    Her intentions may be based in love and concern for the welfare of her son and his hypothetical offspring but she clearly lacks a fundamental respect for her son as a person and what she proposes is a violation of his human rights.

    I'm not saying her intentions are worthless nor that they should be ignored, but intentions and good will do not magically make her proposal a good or acceptable or non-harmful or morally right course of action....."the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
     
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  16. Ameriblush

    Ameriblush Bird and Vidya game fan.

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    Heck I've met people who thought this would be an ok example--they never actually considered that sterilizing these groups is way more expensive and wasteful than simply opening a soup kitchen or making security nets.

    Seems like people want to go over the top instead of being resourceful. If the boy can't raise the child, adoption or raised by grandma! She shouldn't have to be so apocalyptic.
     
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  17. Celestiune

    Celestiune New Member

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    A bit off topic but am i the only one who thinks making a book about your kid's autism (or any disability for that man) just the most....selfish thing to do? You're basically profiting off of someone else's struggle.
     
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  18. WildCat

    WildCat approach with caution V.I.P Member

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    The author of this book is so comfortably mounted on her high horse that it's beyond ridiculous. She can try and excuse herself out of this all day and night, but it's evident from her choice of words that she's clearly done quite a bit of damage, not just to her son (and there's a chance he'll realize this later) but to a lot of people. Not interested in the other side of the coin either, especially when there are other books written by parents who've got a firmer grasp on their children than this woman does.

    Oh, another thing, what parent has to ponder whether or not their child is thinking at all? That right there is fifty shades of messed up. No matter though, a cash grab is a cash grab I suppose.
     
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  19. Ragnahawk

    Ragnahawk Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I can see the future, the one where they figure out if a newborn child is autistic. Oh look your child is autistic. Your okay to kill it.
     
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  20. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    No, I don't think writing a book about your child's disability is necessarily selfish.

    At best it would be a person documenting experience, offering it for whatever use
    other parents in a similar situation may be able to get from it, and to add to the
    knowledge of people without those experiences themselves.

    The motives for and the value of written work of this type depends on the person writing it.
     
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