France’s Conseil d’État (State Council) has confirmed its ban of the award-winning “Dear Future Mom” video from French television, declaring that the “inappropriate” images of happy Down syndrome children might bother women who had chosen to abort their babies.
The Council stated that the video in question could not be shown since it was “likely to trouble the conscience of women who had made different personal life choices in compliance with the law.”
According to studies, in France more than 80 per cent of all mothers pregnant with babies diagnosed with Down syndrome end up aborting their children.
“The law stipulates that only advertising messages or ‘messages of general interest’ be shown during commercial breaks. The Council determined that this film does not constitute a ‘message of general interest’,” the governing body said in a statement on its website.
Rather, it is “likely to disturb women who have had recourse to a medical termination of pregnancy and thus is inappropriate for airing during commercial breaks,” the statement added.
The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, a pioneer in scientific research on Down syndrome and one of the financiers of the production, had filed a petition requesting that the ban be lifted. In 1959, Professor Jérôme Lejeune, pediatrician and geneticist, discovered the cause of Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and devoted his life to the pro-life cause and to fighting for the rights of people with Down syndrome.
“Dear Future Mom” was produced for World Down Syndrome Day in 2014 and features smiling children and young adults with Down syndrome from different countries reassuring a worried pregnant woman that her child can be happy.
When he heard the news of the Council’s decision, Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, former president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, said he was “saddened but not surprised” to learn that the video had been banned on French television.
“This is a ‘must see’ piece that effectively counters many of the old and misguided stereotypes about people with Down Syndrome that continue to live in the imagination of so many,” said Kurtz, whose brother George, who passed away in 2001, had Down syndrome.
“Tragically across the globe, it is estimated that up to 90 percent of pregnancies with a Down Syndrome diagnosis end in abortion,” the Archbishop said. “I encourage all families who have received this diagnosis for their unborn child to view this video.”
The Global Alliance for Disability in Media and Entertainment has started a petition requesting that the Council reconsider its position, noting that “the discriminatory ban of the video sends the message that people with Down syndrome are unwelcome in society.”
The group said that the video represents an important effort “to challenge negative stereotypes and societal prejudices” against people with Down syndrome.
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