Article: HOLD THE LINE

WHAT DO PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS AND DISABILITY ACTIVISM MEAN UNDER TRUMP?

At two years old, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. My diagnosis is a tribute to the power of my mother’s voice. She went from doctor to specialist to support group, but no one believed her when she pointed to the signs of disability I was presenting. And after my diagnosis, she spent hours arguing with insurance companies about whether or not my life with a pre-existing condition had enough value in which to invest one more procedure or physical therapy session. While I was insured through my father’s employer, many of the procedures that are now acceptable courses of treatment were, in the 1990s, categorized as “experimental,” which meant insurers were legally not required to cover them. Throughout my childhood, my mother advocated for my needs, but as I grew older, my mother raised me to speak up for myself. “Nothing about us without us” is not just a rallying cry for disabled advocates—it’s a message to those fighting for disability rights to do so with us and not for us. (To read more, click here or download What Do Pre-Existing Conditions and Disability Activism Mean Under Trump_ _ Bitch Media  )

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