France has refused to lift a ban on the airing on TV commercial that shows children with Down syndrome speaking out about their experience living with the disorder. The European country rejected an appeal on Nov. 10 to overturn the ban that was originally imposed by the French Broadcasting Counsel.
The video in question, titled, “Dear Future Mom,” includes kids’ stories that “reflect today’s reality of living with Down syndrome and aims to reassure women who have received a prenatal diagnosis.” It’s a message of hope intended to ease the fears pregnant woman might have, according to Renate Lindeman.
“Dear future mom, don’t be afraid,” one child says in the video, with another adding, “Your child will be able to do many things. He’ll be able to hug you. He’ll be able to run toward you. He’ll be able to speak and tell you he loves you.”
Watch the heartwarming commercial below:
The clip in question was released in 2014 to commemorate World Down Syndrome Day, and, though it was recognized by the United Nations, France’s government reportedly found that it was inappropriate, as it was “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices.”
The country’s High Audiovisual Council axed the commercial from the airwaves earlier this year and then the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court, rejected attempts by the pro-life Jerome Lejeune Foundation to overturn that ban, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Jerome Lejeune Foundation reports that 96 percent of Down syndrome pregnancies in France result in abortion, though the Daily Mail reported that other research has found the proportion to be a bit lower at 80 percent.
After the ruling, Jean-Marie Le Mene, president of the foundation, lambasted the decision, saying the judges in question were attempting to remove happy kids with Down syndrome from public view.
“Indeed, experience shows that women who have given birth to a child with a disability do not regret having chosen life,” he said.
Others have also taken aim at the ruling, with Michelle Sie Whitten, president and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, calling the decision to uphold the ban both “offensive” and “shocking,” adding that it “flies in the face of freedom of speech,” according to the Catholic News Agency.
“It’s so absurd,” Whitten said. “I have never heard of a ruling so egregious.”
The ban on the film only applies to its application as a commercial or announcement; the video will not be banned in other broadcast forms, Catholic News Agency reported.
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