Banning down syndrome doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but governments obviously don’t have the power to change genetics. However, a court in France is doing the next best thing (if you’re an asshole) and banning smiling kids with down syndrome from appearing on TV.
You see, if you’re the kind of woman who plans on keeping her unborn baby, but after finding out it may have birth defects decides to get an abortion, seeing the smiling face of a child who could have looked like yours is a traumatic experience. So traumatic, in fact, that a commercial that encourages women who are faced with that same situation to keep their baby because he/she can still lead a happy, productive, fulfilling life, has been banned.
According to Conseil d’État (France’s state council) banned with award winning “Dear Future Mom” video from appearing on television due to concerns that it was “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices.”
Those women are sadly in the majority. Studies vary but show that between 67-85% of women who learn their babies have down syndrome terminate their pregnancies. In France in particular, that rate is around 80%. (Some studies even suggest a worldwide abortion rate of 90%.)
I’ve met a handful of people with down syndrome in my life. Some attended the same school I did, some work at restaurants or grocery stores in my town. I’ve never met someone with down syndrome who didn’t have a smile on their face the majority of the time, who didn’t have a sense of humor, and who didn’t have a kind caring heart. Of all the people in the world who cause problems for society, I hardly feel that its people who have down syndrome who are the problem.
Quite frankly, I’d happily trade the person who thinks the life of someone with a disability is worth less, for the person who has the disability.