The Body and its Able-ness: Articulating In/Eligibility through Rhetorics of Motherhood, Unjust Language, and Questionable Medical Authority

Rachel D. Davidson, Lara C. Stache


This essay analyzes a controversy involving Amelia (Mia) Rivera, a three-year old girl who was denied a life-saving kidney transplant in January 2012. As reported by Mia's mother, Chrissy, on her blog post, Mia was denied the kidney transplant because of her mental disability. Throughout the public discussion that took place over a few short weeks, we argue Mia's ineligibility was rearticulated through rhetorics of motherhood, unjust body language, and questions about medical authority. we suggest this indicates that descriptions of the body and its able-ness carry more weight in the public's understanding of health issues than does medical authority.


body rhetoric; motherhood; medical authority; public controversy; critical analysis

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Copyright (c) 2016 Rachel D. Davidson, Lara C. Stache

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ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)