Access Living condemns statements of Princeton’s Peter Singer

(Chicago) Access Living strongly opposes statements made in April by Peter Singer, a professor at Princeton University. On April 16, Singer argued that it is reasonable for the government or private insurance companies to deny treatment to infants with disabilities. Singer made the comments during an interview with “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” which is broadcast on New York’s AM 970 and Philadelphia 990 AM.

On Wednesday, June 10, disability rights activists from Pennsylvania Not Dead Yet, from New Jersey centers for independent living, and from groups representing parents of people with disabilities, marched to Princeton University. Protesting on the Ivy League Campus, advocates called for Princeton University to denounce the statement made by Singer during the April radio interview, and to address what activists describe as Singer’s “hate speech” toward disabled people. Specifically, protesters demanded that Princeton:

• Call for Singer's resignation.
• Publicly denounce Singer's comments.
• Hire a bioethicist from the disability community in a
comparable position to provide a platform for views that
contrast with his.
• Create a disability policy program at Princeton to educate
future leaders on an inclusive community.

Access Living, which serves people with disabilities in Chicago, and which fights for the equal rights and inclusion of people with disabilities across the United States, echoes the concerns of and demands made by the activists on the Princeton Campus. “We are there in spirit with Not Dead Yet, and with the other activists who give voice to infants with disabilities and to all people with disabilities,” said Marca Bristo, President & CEO of Access Living. “In Chicago, and all around the country, disability activists echo the demands made by the advocates on the Princeton Campus.

The interview in April was not the first time that Professor argued that the life of a disabled person is less than that of a non-disabled person. In the article, “Why We Must Ration Health Care,” published in the New York Times Magazine in 2009, Singer hypothesized that the life of someone with quadriplegia is valued at half the life of someone without a disability.

“Whether it be Princeton or a liberal arts school on the west coast,” Bristo went on to say. “There is no place on any university faculty for a professor who promotes the killing of children based upon disability and who believes that one human life is more valuable than another.”

Chicago’s only center for independent living, Access Living is a cross-disability organization, nationally recognized as a leader in the field of independent living and a premier local provider of services for people with disabilities. For more information contact Gary Arnold at Access Living 312-640-2199 voice, 312-640-2102 (TTY)

Gary Arnold
Public Affairs Manager