Sunday, January 22, 2017

French Court Rules: Children with Down Syndrome Not Allowed to Smile on TV

by Marianna Orlandi, Ph.D
Catholic Lane

On November 10, the Conseil d’Etat ruled it “inappropriate” to show happy children with Down syndrome on TV, as that sight could “trouble” women who chose not to give birth to their disabled children.

With this pronouncement, the French judges upheld a previous decision by the CSA (“Conseil Supérieur de l’audiovisuel” – equivalent of the US Federal Communication Commission). In 2014, CSA banned the diffusion of the video “Dear Future Mom,” an award-winning short movie that was released on World Down Syndrome Day and broadcasted by some French media outlets.

The video was meant to sensitize parents about the reality of a life with Down syndrome. Answering to the fears of a pregnant woman, whose unborn baby had just been diagnosed with this genetic disorder, some adolescents appear on the screen. For two minutes, they tell their “future mums” that they can do everything other kids can do. They explain that they can read, go to school, fix bicycles, … and, eventually, even pay their own rent. They are happy to be born, and they simply say it.

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