NRL News

Video banned in France because it features happy Down syndrome children

by | Nov 28, 2016

By Michael Cook

downsyndromesmile3reFrance, the nation of liberté, égalité, fraternité. Yeah, right. But not for Down syndrome people.

Last year the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo mocked a right-wing politician, Nadine Morano, with a cartoon on its cover describing her as la fille cachée trisomique du Général de Gaulle, the hidden Down syndrome daughter of General de Gaulle. (De Gaulle did have a Down syndrome daughter, Anne, whom he loved dearly.) The baby, as drawn, was grotesque and ugly.

That followed an earlier incident in which one of France’s leading physiologists, Jean-Didier Vincent, asked on a national TV program, “[W]hy should we protect these Down syndrome people when they are just a poison in a family?” Down syndrome people were outraged.

In fact, Down syndrome children are treated like a poison. It has been estimated that an incredible 96 percent of unborn French children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. High as this figure is in other countries, France leaves them in the dust.

So if you are inclined to fret about stigmatization, it’s Down syndrome children who are being stigmatized.

Which shows the hypocrisy of a recent decision by the highest court in France for administrative procedures, the Conseil d’État (Council of State). On November 10 it reaffirmed a 2014 decision by a broadcasting tribunal to ban a TV advertisement depicting Down syndrome children as loving, quirky, independent kids whose parents adore them.

“The law stipulates that only advertising messages or ‘messages of general interest’ be shown during commercial breaks. The Council determined that this film does not constitute a ‘message of general interest’,” Conseil d’État declared. Rather, it is “likely to disturb women who have had recourse to a medical termination of pregnancy and thus is inappropriate for airing during commercial breaks.”

This is just patronising and contradictory nonsense. Within the framework of abortion rights, a woman’s right to choose is sacred. How could she possibly feel guilty about it? Isn’t the court thereby endorsing the reviled and discredited notion that women suffer from post-abortion stress? Is the court somehow implying that these mothers made a mistake?

With this judgement, the French legal system has endorsed abortion and eugenics and has undercut the rights of disabled citizens. If Down syndrome children are denied an opportunity to say that they are just as happy – or happier – than the rest of us, then the glorious slogan of liberté, égalité, fraternité is just meaningless bombast.

Even more sinister, though, are the implications for the future of public debate. Ultimately the best argument for traditional moral teachings is that they lead to human flourishing, that they make us happy. When being happy becomes a hate crime …

Here is the terrifying video which the French legal system does not want you to watch:

Editor’s note. Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. This appeared at

Categories: Down Syndrome