This snapshot of Jay is important to you because you need to understand the world that Jay and his peers live in. You need to understand that people with intellectual and associated disabilities have always been subjected to discrimination. Often, they have been put to death or allowed to die when they might have been kept alive. The discrimination that they have experienced in education, employment, and housing are matters that you have addressed by various laws. More to the point today is the discrimination in health care that they have experienced.
The roots of that discrimination are ancient. They originate in the debates of the Greek philosophers, Hippocrates, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
Hippocrates posed the question, “Which children should be raised?”
Plato answered by writing that a state’s “medical and judicial provision” will “leave the unhealthy to die, and those whose psychological constitution is incurably corrupt, it will put to death.” He added, “… we must look at our offspring from every angle to make sure we are not taken in by a lifeless phantom not worth the rearing.”
Aristotle agreed: “With regard to the choice between abandoning or rearing an infant, let there be a law that no crippled child be raised.”
And the pre-Christian Romans’ Twelve Tables, their equivalent of our federal constitution, admonished the head of the family to “kill quickly…a dreadfully deformed child.”
One would have thought our more enlightened age would have settled the question about which individuals should be treated so that they will live.