NRL News

McDonald’s Super Bowl ad features girl with Down syndrome

by | Feb 2, 2015


By Kristi Burton Brown

Editor’s note. This ran Friday, before the Super Bowl, at

McdonaldsDSadIn the midst of the trashy ads that tend to fill TV screens on Super Bowl Sunday, a few beautiful ones also make their appearance.

One of the most beautiful ads this year comes from McDonald’s. The burger corporation included Grace Ramsburg, an eight-year-old with Down syndrome, in its one-minute spot “Pay With Lovin.’”

Grace’s mom is thrilled that her daughter’s face will be seen by millions throughout the nation tomorrow. And indeed, the more often people are able to truly see the personality and spirit of people with Down syndrome, the more they realize their intrinsic beauty.

“There’s still misunderstanding and there’s still judgement,” Holly Ramsburg said of having a daughter with Down syndrome. “I feel like everyday when we go out and we’re able to get her face out there and get her personality out there it is wonderful.”

In addition to the beauty that Grace Ramsburg so eloquently communicates, Americans also need to get the message that people just like Grace deserve to live — every time.

All too often, babies in the womb who are diagnosed with Down syndrome are sentenced to death. Parents are given worst-case-scenario information and little hope.

The Huffington Post wrote an intensive article about the profound lack of adequate counseling and information given to parents whose babies have been diagnosed with Down syndrome. One mother quoted in the article said:

“I have heard from a lot of people, especially on the BabyCenter group where people are from all over the nation. It seems like a lot of women haven’t gotten real positive care,” she said. “They’ve had doctors who felt they should have terminated or who felt like a higher standard of care isn’t necessary because their baby isn’t perfect.”

A medical geneticist also pointed out a major problem:

“The physicians do a great job talking about the technical aspects of the test and signing them [the parents] up. But when it comes to [the news that] your fetus has Down syndrome when the test is positive, nothing really has changed,” said Brian Skotko, a medical geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-director of the MassGeneral Down Syndrome Program. “Doctors still don’t feel trained or have an accurate understanding.”

As a side note, babies can also be misdiagnosed — up to half the time — by screening tests (for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities) that parents base their abortion decision on. The Daily Beast reports:

There is no real way to gauge just how often women terminate healthy pregnancies based on inaccurate medical diagnoses, but anecdotal evidence suggests it’s more common than we hear about.

These tragic failures in the medical community have led to what is sometimes termed “the Down syndrome holocaust.” As Live Action News writer Cassy Fiano wrote:

For every ten babies diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome, only one will get to live. The other nine will be killed, simply because they have an extra chromosome.

Let’s hope that the simple act of viewing Grace Ramsburg during tomorrow’s big game can help to change hearts and minds. Every life truly deserves a lifetime.

Categories: Down Syndrome