I saw this thread this morning, & when I left it, only Kat & WYSI had posted, but have been thinking about it on & off all day, & come back to it to find its generated no less interest than I'd have expected for such a very emotive issue, & very good points from all, IMO.
However, as most have said, we can be grateful to be not put in the position of Ashleys parents, & as a non-parent myself, I maybe have less undertanding of any parents than most here, but I find myself understanding of many of the views that her parents express, after all what are they denying Ashley by this process? To my mind, nothing, as its the case that she has little or no conception of herself & her state. To prevent the maturing process that she will be unaware of, they are preventing what would be a reduction in her quality of life, eg: menstruation, for one thing, which for Ashley, serves no purpose, as I am sure we can all agree, it would never be deemed fitting & appropriate for her to ever bear children herself, as it would seem that could only ever happen if " some "morally handicapped" male impregnated her" as Frogprince said. Nor can Ashley ever turn herself in bed, so the notion of keeping her size & weight low seems more a kindness to her than a convenience for her parents, to me.
While it does, perhaps, set something of a dangerous precedent, & that is of course worrying, it does point up what many others here have said, the ramifications of this, & much else, is beyond the depth & breadth of current Law, which should be bending all its efforts to an appropriate level of governance of what science can legally & ethically be allowed, & not allowed, to do.
Some 15 or 20 years ago, if I remember correctly, in the UK, there was an issue around a Mentally Handicapped girl in her teens (I say Mentally hndicapped because the term Learning Disability does not adequately describe the impairment this girl suffered) though she was considered to have a mental age around six, as I recall, as best it could be guaged(sp?). She was, frankly, promiscuous, and though I cannot remember if she lived at home with family or was 'In Care', it seemed she was finding ample opportuity to associate with males.
The Social Services Department ruled that it was unethical & wrong to sterilise the girl, despite the fact she could not in any degree be relied upon to use contraception in any form (I don't kow why a 'Coil' was considered inappropriate for her, though) They even stated that sterilisation would be a breach of her Rights. They seemed incapable of seeing the unavoidable point that likely several pregnancies were likely to result form her conduct, which they fully agreed shuld, & would, not be allowed to come to term.
So, according to them, she was allowed to get pregnant, but not to give birth.
Now thats playing God....