Static Encephalopathy

The two articles discuss about Ashley X, a nine-year-old girl who has a rare brain situation known as static encephalopathy. This means that her brain develops plenty slower than that of a normal child leaving her with the brain of an baby at her age. After turning seven, her parents took her to Seattle Children’s Hospital where she went through a hysterectomy observed by a dose of estrogen to stunt her growth.
Jemima Lewis points out that these acts sound so ugly primarily based on the implications they have o a human body. As much as the reasons behind their choices seem to benefit Ashley as she grows up, she wonders where we draw the line with tampering with nature. It is worrying that we use science in so many ways to derive comfort without looking at where we should draw the line (Lewis, 2007).

On the other hand, Peter Singer supports the actions taken by her parents claiming that they are all in her best interests. He points out that the hysterectomy, similar to all other medical treatments, are not natural however they aid in improving our quality of life. The natural reaction to such children years ago was to abandon them, however, science has allowed them to have a comfortable place in society. He further points out that he agrees with the actions taken by her parents as they are not only for her best interests but they protect her dignity. He argues that Ashley would be more comfortable in a body that is commensurate to her brain development. In this way she will be able to enjoy what falls under her capabilities to enjoy. He also believes that her parents conducted the treatment out of concern and love for her.


Lewis, J. (2007, January 6). Jemima Lewis: The moral line in medicine shifts once again. Retrieved January 14, 2017, from

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