France Bans Ad Featuring Smiling Kids with Down Syndrome Because it Might Make Women Who Aborted Their Disabled Kids Uncomfortable
March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. According to the official WDSD website, the annual event “is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.” The stated goal of the day is to “help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.”
To commemorate World Down Syndrome Day, the organization made a two-minute commercial titled: “Dear Future Mom.” The commercial features a letter from a scared mother, whose child has been prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. “I’m scared: what kind of life will my child have?” the mother asks. Then, young people with Down syndrome from all over the world answer her.
“Dear future mom,
Don’t be afraid. Your child will be able to do many things. He’ll be able to hug you; he’ll be able to run towards you; he’ll be able to speak, and tell you he loves you; he’ll be able to go to school like everybody…”
After listing many of the things kids with Down syndrome can do, the commercial comes to a powerful moment:
“Sometimes, it will be difficult; very difficult; almost impossible–but isn’t it like that for all mothers? Dear future mom, your child can be happy, just like I am–and you’ll be happy, too.”
The commercial ends with footage of the kids hugging their parents, and smiling. It’s a profound and incredible tribute to the love that parents have for their special needs children.
On November 10, however, the French State Council (Conseil d’Etat) upheld a ban instituted by Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) that claims the commercial is unfit for television because it’s “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices.”
In short, the commercial has been banned because of the possibility that women who aborted their children with prenatally diagnosed Down syndrome will feel uncomfortable or shamed when watching it.
The president of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, Jean-Marie Le Mene, issued a scathing statement after the ban was upheld:
“It’s a singular notion of human life that both its preservation and its destruction are measured on the same plane, as if the two acts had the same value. Indeed, experience shows that women who have given birth to a child with a disability do not regret having chosen life. However, those who have chosen otherwise visibly suffer from some form of guilt. Hence the decision by the CSA to avoid their view of children with Down syndrome [as being] happy. The decision of the State Council therefore takes the [position that] the freedom of expression of individuals with Down syndrome must bow to the right to abortion.”
And in Poland: