Harriet McBryde Johnson died today at age 50. She was a champion defender of the disableds’ right to live.
In our culture of death, where universities grant tenure to “ethicists” who advocate killing “defective” infants during the first thirty days after their delivery, it is people like Harriet that remind us that every life has value and dignity.
She wrote about meeting “the most influential philosopher of our time“
He insists he doesn’t want to kill me. He simply thinks it would have been better, all things considered, to have given my parents the option of killing the baby I once was, and to let other parents kill similar babies as they come along and thereby avoid the suffering that comes with lives like mine and satisfy the reasonable preferences of parents for a different kind of child. It has nothing to do with me. I should not feel threatened.
Whenever I try to wrap my head around his tight string of syllogisms, my brain gets so fried it’s . . . almost fun. Mercy! It’s like “Alice in Wonderland.”
Harriet never, under any definition of the word, lost her right to live.
May we all live by her strength.
UPDATE, Saturday 7 June
Johnson always recognized the power of the individual and the spark of the divine in human life. She never stopped advocating for equality and dignity for those with disabilities of any kind and especially those with severe handicaps. Johnson maintained a sense of humor and self-deprecating wit that allowed people to see her as the complete person she was. Harriet McBryde Johnson will be sorely missed in the years to come.