Numerous other bloggers have covered this story much more in depth, so I will defer to their better analysis in the links below. The gist of the issue is this:
Ashley X, age 9, has a mental impairment, static encephalopathy, which leaves her mental development stopped at approximately that of a 3 month old. From the "Ashley Treatment" website:
Now nine years old, Ashley cannot keep her head up, roll or change her sleeping position, hold a toy, or sit up by herself, let alone walk or talk. She is tube fed and depends on her caregivers in every way. We call her our “Pillow Angel” since she is so sweet and stays right where we place her—usually on a pillow.
Ashley is a beautiful girl whose body is developing normally with no external deformities; see photos. She is expected to live a full life and was expected to attain a normal adult height and weight. Ashley being in a stable condition is a blessing because many kids with similarly severe disabilities tend to deteriorate and not survive beyond five years of age.
Ashley is alert and aware of her environment; she startles easily. She constantly moves her arms and kicks her legs. Sometimes she seems to be watching TV intently. She loves music and often gets in celebration mode of vocalizing, kicking, and choreographing/conducting with her hands when she really likes a song (Andrea Boccelli is her favorite – we call him her boyfriend). She rarely makes eye-contact even when it is clear that she is aware of a person’s presence next to her. Ashley goes to school in a classroom for special needs children, which provides her with daily bus trips, activities customized for her, and a high level of attention by her teachers and therapists.
Ashley's parents have pursued a path of invasive medical procedures that will stop Ashley's development and keep at her current body size for the rest of her life. The procedures include a hysterectomy, removing the "buds" of her breasts, and hormonal treatments.
Overall, I find the parents' actions to be those of convenience for them, not what is best for Ashley. I can understand them wanting to make things simpler, but this is Ashley's life and body, not theirs.
Further (and better) analysis from a feminist and disability rights perspective:
The Gimp Parade: "Frozen girl" discussed on TV tonight
Did I Miss Something?: It begins with Ashley.
Wheelchair Dancer: Human Rights