Who decides whose lives are worth living? In Karawynn Long’s piece of science fiction, “Of Silence and Slow Time” (1995), the government determines who is “defective” and “must be exterminated” through genetic intervention. This short story’s protagonist, Marina, is a Deaf woman who desires a deaf baby and works to covertly conceive one. In this dystopia, no deaf baby has been born in twenty-five years, illustrating how deaf communities lack the ability to determine their reproductive destiny, or the right to have a child like them. With the convergence of master narratives, legislation, and the development of CRISPR technology, Long’s dystopia portended the human rights and social justice issues facing Deaf peoples. Sheena McFeely’s life-writings manifest these issues as her family discusses CRISPR in relation to the endangerment of deaf communities. We present Long’s story as a counter-narrative that presaged our current realities while illustrating interlocking systems of oppression that prevent both reproductive and disability justice—examining how science fiction writers, bioethicists, policymakers, health care providers, and Deaf peoples have attempted to address this question about the value of our lives. Ultimately, we argue that reproductive justice is incomplete without disability justice and deaf peoples’ right to be born.
- Disability justice
- Deaf peoples
- Human rights
- Reproductive justice
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Mazique, R., Panko, T.L., Cuculick, J.A. (2022). Reproductive and Disability Justice: Deaf Peoples’ Right to Be Born. In: Capo, B.W., Lazzari, L. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Reproductive Justice and Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-99530-0_11
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