Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Richard is my Boyfriend

Did anyone see this incredible documentary late last night on Channel 4? It dealt very sensitively with the most difficult issue in Bioethics - how to deal with a mentally disabled person who has desires to be or has become sexually active. It took the case (I'm not sure if it was real or scripted) of a 24 year old woman with the mental age of 5 (Anna) who is dating a Down's Syndrome man (Richard). Anna, Richard and Anna's parents were played by actors but everyone else was real and had to work with the situation as if it were real life.

Basically Anna and Richard attend a day centre where they are given a dreadful sex education programme which includes teaching them how to put a condom on a banana so as not to catch any diseases. When Anna and Richard have sex they put a condom on a banana as they were told to do. Anna becomes pregnant so her mother buys an abortifacient pill on the internet using her ex-husbands credit card telling him she is buying a holiday in Spain for her and their daughter. When Anna takes the pill she is rushed to hospital because it has rather more dangerous consequences than her mother thought. The consultant suggests the best thing to do is get Anna sterilised but that will have to go through the courts as she cannot give consent. The father says yes, the mother no. So begins a long court battle. Thankfully the judge says sterilisation without consent would be unlawful.

I hope Channel 4 plan to show more insightful documentaries such as this and move them to a more convenient time slot. People need to understand the importance of Bioethics in today's world.

3 comments:

Mac McLernon said...

I understand (from a report on the radio) that the parts of the professionals were totally unscripted, while the parts played by the actors had been scripted (at least, as much as possible)

antonia said...

yes that is a very difficult area.

Just for the record, in England & Wales it is definilty NOT accepted practice anymore to sterilise mentally disabled people. (they put them on long-term hormonal contraceptive injections instead)

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Chastity needs to apply to all of us...