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January 13, 2020

Paralympic Athlete Talks about the Discrimination she Faced while Pregnant

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson with her family
Eleven-time Paralympic gold-medalist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson expressed her frustrations with how people responded to her pregnancy on a BBC program entitled “Stumps, Wheels and Wobblies.”

“The first thing I was offered at my first scan was a termination because people were like: ‘You should not have children,” she said. “We had a discussion about ‘was I trying for a baby?’… and the individual had some quite complicated views on disability.”

Grey-Thompson's doctor told her they were concerned that people with disabilities would “breed” and “spread.” The doctor's opinion was the very definition of eugenics. He would rather have Grey-Thompson abort her daughter because her daughter might have a similar disability.

She also recalled being approached by a woman in the street who couldn't comprehend someone like her possibly wanting to give birth to a child. She gave a synopsis of this conversation in the interview:
“[The stranger] poked me and said: ‘How did you get pregnant?'” 
‘I remember screaming at her in the street: “I had sex with my husband. How do you think I got pregnant?”‘ 
‘She was like: “Oh well, that’s disgusting.” 
And I said: “I think he’s quite good looking, actually.”
Discriminatory attitudes against disabled women have become more common as abortion has become acceptable. Doctors and strangers have no right to impose that kind of decision on a mother, but because Grey-Thompson was disabled, they felt empowered to do so.

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