On November 10, the French State Council ruled that a video featuring individuals with Down syndrome will not be permitted to air on French television because the smiles of the children in the feature would “disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices” — in other words, because seeing them happy would upset women who had aborted their Down syndrome children.
The council rejected an appeal by people with Down syndrome and their families, who asked the French government to lift the French Broadcasting Council’s ban on broadcasting the award-winning “Dear Future Mom” video:
The video, which was produced in 2014 for World Down Syndrome Day, features a number of young people with Down syndrome from around the world. Those interviewed speak in a variety of languages about being able to learn to write and to ride a bike, to hug their mothers and go to school, and to earn money to live on their own. These stories are meant to dispel stereotypes about the condition and depict the reality of living with Down syndrome: They, too, can have happy childhoods and grow up to lead meaningful, independent lives.
In France, 86 percent of babies who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted. In some countries around the world, that rate is as high as 90 percent. The video’s creators and participants, as well as people around the world who live with Down syndrome, hoped that it would reassure and comfort women whose unborn babies have been diagnosed with the condition. But now French women — and the rest of France — won’t be able to receive that message.