Discrimination of any type against any individual with a disability/disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability, is morally and legally indefensible.
Throughout their lives, all disabled individuals have the same rights as other citizens, including access to such major societal activities as health care, education, and employment.
These rights for all disabled persons must be recognized at birth.
NEED FOR INFORMATION
There is a need for professional education and dissemination of updated information which will improve decision-making about disabled individuals, especially newborns. To this end, it is imperative to educate all persons involved in the decision-making process. Parents should be given information on available resources to assist in the care of their disabled infant. Society should be informed about the value and worth of disabled persons. Professional organizations, advocacy groups, the government, and individual care givers should educate and inform the general public on the care, need, value, and worth of disabled infants.
When medical care is clearly beneficial, it should always be provided. When appropriate medical care is not available, arrangements should be made to transfer the infant to an appropriate medical facility. Consideration such as anticipated or actual limited potential of an individual and present or future lack of available community resources are irrelevant and must not determine the decisions concerning medical care. The individual's medical condition should be the sole focus of the decision. These are very strict standards.
It is ethically and legally justified to withhold medical or surgical procedures which are clearly futile and will only prolong the act of dying.
- Copyright © 1984 by the American Academy of Pediatrics