Thursday, September 15, 2005

"Alison Lapper Pregnant is a monument to the future possibilities of the human race as well as the resilience of the human spirit"

This is a beautiful quote from the artist Marc Quinn about his statue of Alison Lapper which is now on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square (reported in the Guardian )and here) I think it is a superb and inspiring image of the courage of the human spirit, and the beauty and hope of a new life. Alison Lapper is quoted in the Guardian with the "exultant message: "I regard it as a modern tribute to femininity, disability and motherhood. It is so rare to see disability in everyday life - let alone naked, pregnant and proud."

Rod Liddle expressed concern in The Times about the appropriateness of a tribute to disabilty. I disagree, because it isn't a tribute to disability but a tribute to equal human rights, feminism and overcoming disability. Even if the element of overcoming disability was excluded, this statue would still be a testament to the fact that human beings are not reducible to their physical parts but have a unique spirit.

This statue could be a real "monument to the future" if it presides over Trafalgar Square during a year in which politicians have an opportunity to end the discrimination against the disabled which results in babies being screened and aborted up to and including birth if they are found to have a disability. If politicians are genuine in their admiration and respect for the dignity of people with disabilities and committed to equal rights, then it is time for a proper debate on this issue, and an end to this clause and the screening and elimination of people with disability, rather than concealing the reasons for abortions in the annual abortion statistics in order to prevent public scrutiny and debate (see ProLife Alliance press release, Scandal as DoH refuse to release details of abortion for disability, August 2004)


Blogger Anne-Marie said...

Good to see your blog is growing exponentially!

Could you add a photo of the statue to this post please - I'd be interested to see it.

A-M x

2:16 AM  
Blogger Fiona said...

thanks. check out the picture on the first link to the Guardian.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Anne-Marie said...

OK, will do! Cheers :)

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Gary Monro said...

I think there's a flaw in this reasoning, if I may be so bold.

The people 'celebrating' Ms Lapper actually aren't; they're trying to give one in the eye to the dead white men displayed around Trafalgar Square. It's a poke at conservative England.

Second, there already is a statue of a disabled person who overcame his disability - Nelson himself.

Third - and more importantly from your point of view - the very people most keen on celebrating this feminist icon are, I suspect, the ones most 'supportive' of a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy.

They might celebrate the disabled born but it's a different matter for the diabled unborn.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Fiona said...

hi Gary

thanks for this. I agree with you that some people are hypocritical.

But there are also genuine disability rights activists and people committed to equality and genuine feminism that is pronatal, prolife and pro-equality, that we can work with and things will change! I'm sure of it!

I find it immensely inspiring when I hear people with disabilities speak and we need these visual and vocal reminders to stop us as a society sliding further down the slope into eugenics with the elimination of embryos etc.

As for your point that we already have Nelson, that may be the case but we need more images of disability because it obviously isn't enough in the public consciousness.

best wishes

1:22 AM  

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