France has banned the faces of smiling children from television. Why?
Picture the face of a smiling child. What thoughts come to mind? Innocence? Joy? Love? What could be more beautiful?
The image of a smiling child should give us hope, should stir us—should be a reminder that we’re all made in the image of God. Even, and perhaps especially, the smile of a child with Down syndrome.
A couple of years ago, to mark World Down Syndrome Day, the Italian advocacy organization CoorDown released a touching video featuring children with Down syndrome. It’s titled “Dear Future Mom.” The video was created to address the fears of a pregnant woman who has just received a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis—and does it ever!
It opens with a letter that CoorDown received from an expecting mother who’s discovered her baby has Down syndrome. “I’m scared,” she wrote. What kind of life will my child have?”
Over the next two minutes, children with Down syndrome address us in different languages, smiling, and assuring the frightened mom-to-be that her child will be able to read and write, to go to school, to help Dad fix a bike . . . and to run to her, to hug her, to dance with her, and to tell her, “I love you.”
Every word is true. Anyone who has rubbed shoulders with someone who has Down syndrome will tell you about the love, the openness, and the zest for life they bring to every situation. Their laughter and joy can be infectious. And as the deeply pro-abortion Huffington Post reports, studies in the U.K. and U.S. have shown that the vast majority of children with Down syndrome and their families live happy, fulfilled lives.
“Dear Future Mom” is a hope-filled message to a culture in which parents more and more obsesses over the physical perfection and earning potential of their children. Come to BreakPoint.org and we’ll link you to the video so you can share it with others.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. This positive portrayal of children with Down syndrome was too much for French authorities, who have banned “Dear Future Mom.”
Why, you ask? Out of kindness—at least that’s what they say. According to Live Action News, earlier this month France’s Counseil d’Etat, basically, the supreme court, upheld a lower court ban on the video as “inappropriate.” How so? Because the video’s portrayal of people with Down syndrome as happy and smiling was “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal choices.” Meaning, of course, they aborted their babies.
As Live Action News explains, “This ban, in its very essence, lends credence to the idea that the mere public presence of people with Down syndrome, happy and smiling and excited to be alive, could be considered potentially offensive.”
The truly disturbing thing is what this politically correct censorship will do to children with Down syndrome. Right now in France, 86 percent of children prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted—hardly surprising, given that positive news and information about them are censored out of the public square.
As Amy Julia Becker notes in Christianity Today, culture can determine the fate of such children. “The last thing a pregnant woman facing the likelihood of a baby with Down syndrome needs,” she writes, “is to think that keeping that baby is an abnormal choice.”
What could be more normal than welcoming into our lives people who differ from us in some ways but share our love of life, and most importantly, bear the unmistakable image of Love Himself?
The French people—and the world—need to see this video. Again, please come to BreakPoint.org to see “Dear Future Mom.”
Further Reading and Information
A Smiling Child with Down Syndrome: France says “Non”
Click here to watch the incredibly captivating and uplifting video “Dear Future Mom.” As Eric said, welcoming those who might differ from us into our hearts and lives is an action that Christ modeled for us. Let’s follow His example.