April 2, 2014 from 4 to 5:30pm

ONLINE – Dis/Representation Virtual Room

IN PERSON – Portland State University – Urban Center, Room 511. It is located at 511 SW Mill Street.

Woman in wheelchair smiling at children

From the forced sterilization and eugenics practices of the past to modern stereotypes regarding who can and should parent, this session will explore what it means to reproduce through a disabled body.

Brief Agenda is Included Below:

  • History and Current Events Which Lay the Foundation
  • Online Discussion (prompts below)
  • Fertility and Disability
  • Online Discussion (prompts below)
  • Pregnancy and Disability
  • Online Discussion (prompts below)
  • Raising Children
  • Online Discussion (prompts below)


History and Current Events Which Lay the Foundation-
Chapter 1 (The Introduction) of “Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children” The 2012 National Council on Disability report.

“The Involuntary Sterilization of Children with Disabilities Should Be Challenged”

“Designing Deaf Babies and the Question of Disability”

“Taking Medication While Pregnant: I’m Not Sorry”

Raising Children-
Are Children of Disabled Parents at Risk for Parentification?

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some of the long-term effects of forced sterilization – both on the individuals with disabilities who’ve undergone the procedure and on society at large?
  2. What do you think is truly of concern to the government when they make a decision (and stand by it for decades) to forcibly prevent a certain population of people from reproducing?
  3. In what ways can we as a society further the notion that people with disabilities are perfectly capable of reproducing and raising children of their own?
  4. Do you think the reaction to the Deaf couple wanting a Deaf child would be different if it were a couple who use wheelchairs, who are blind, who have learning disabilities, etc? What might those differences in reaction be and what would they be attributed to?
  5. Medication management for pregnant people can be challenging. Do you think this mom’s decision to stay medicated during her pregnancy is the right one? Why or why not?
  6. Would the feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment that parents with disabilities oftentimes feel be lessened at all if we lived in a country that acknowledged and supported them as a part of the societal framework?

Captioning Provided Online for all Participants