A video showing children with Down’s syndrome smiling remains censored in France after an appeal to overturn the ban was quashed by the Council of State.
The video, entitled “Dear Future Mom”, features children with the condition reassuring a mother-to-be who is worried about her child being born with the syndrome.
It was previously banned by the French Broadcasting Council, after its release in 2014.
The Council of State said that featuring smiling children in a video was “inappropriate”, as it was “likely to disturb the conscience” of women who have aborted on the grounds of a Down’s diagnosis.
It is reported that in France 96 per cent of unborn children who test positive for Down’s syndrome are aborted.
The decision to uphold the ban has been strongly criticised.
Michelle Sie Whitten, President of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, called it “shocking” and “offensive”, and called for people to take a stand.
Jean-Marie Le Méné, President of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation, a genetic research charity, said it put the destruction and protection of life on equal levels “as if the two acts had the same value”.
He added: “Indeed, experience shows that women who have given birth to a child with a disability do not regret having chosen life.”
Renate Lindeman, spokesman for Downpride, an international social justice group that promotes awareness and seeks equality for people with Down’s syndrome, also slammed the decision.
“Our kids”, she said, “are banned from public television because their happy faces make post-abortion women feel uncomfortable”.
“What’s next? Will kids with Down syndrome be banned from school? Will they be segregated from society and placed in institutions like in the old days, because their presence upsets post-abortion parents?”
‘Quality of life’
She added: “Let’s show them the truth that families with Down syndrome have an enormous good quality of life. Let’s show a future of hope, unconditional love and yes, a lot of smiles and happiness.”
A petition has been launched asking the French government to intervene.