Reviews of this week’s documentaries

We asked you to send in your comments on two hard hitting documentaries which were broadcast this week, Richard is my boyfriend and Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell.

If you want to send in your comments or a short review email and they will be published here.


Reviews of Richard is my boyfriend

Andy Rickell, an executive director of Scope, who is disabled said: “Watching last night’s drama “Richard is my boyfriend” I was left frustrated, as many disabled people will have been, that there was no consideration of a ‘third option’ based on Anna’s rights as an individual.

“Firstly, why are we even contemplating sterilising disabled people in twenty-first century Britain? The intention of Anna’s father to empower her with independence is cruelly removed when he suggests the only way would be taking away her capacity and choice to bear children. On the other hand, the judge eventually rules that the ‘compassionate’ option is for Anna’s mother to shelter her from life experiences and rob her of her right to a future relationship.

“But where was the third way? Instead of being forced to undergo sterilisation, Anna should be empowered through assisted-living and support to help her make her own choices regarding relationships and sex.

“There was a scene in the programme when a real independent lawyer / advocate decides that Anna is unfit to consent. But counter-evidence is given that her relationship with Richard, who has Downs Syndrome, is mutually exclusive and loving. This raises the issue of whom then, is protecting the rights of disabled people, and who is truly speaking for them?

“Any decision of this magnitude should be taken from a human rights perspective and based on the autonomy of the individual – not on the convenience of other interested parties.

“Scope is pleased that these issues are being raised, but we would like to have seen true advocacy for Anna explored. We feel that there was an underlying assumption that disabled people need ‘protecting’ and cannot share the experiences of non-disabled people. We regard this as disablist.”

Reviews of Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell

Thomas Sutcliffe: Malcolm and Barbara: flawed but virtuous

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