Fight France’s Ban on People with Down Syndrome

Statement from Global Down Syndrome Foundation President & CEO, Michelle Sie Whitten, in response to the French government (the CSA) banning the international, award-winning, 2+ min Saatchi & Saatchi produced public service announcement featuring children and adults with Down syndrome:

I grew up working in television, and for most of my adult life I worked in the international media industry where I personally organized international conferences that included the heads of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the FCC equivalents from around the world.

I have never heard of any ruling as egregious or preposterous as the French CSA banning an award-winning public service announcement featuring people with Down syndrome because it may offend women who chose to terminate a pregnancy with a Down syndrome diagnosis. Clearly the women who choose to continue their pregnancies, people with Down syndrome, and others who have cognitive disability have the right to see themselves on screen.

This ruling is extraordinarily discriminatory and insulting to people with Down syndrome, their families, and friends. It is attack on the very civil rights of all those who are differently-abled.

The French CSA should be reprimanded for this bizarre, discriminatory abuse of its powers. The ban should be lifted immediately, and the freedom of speech and the equality of French citizens with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities should be upheld.

Please join the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and sign an important petition, organized by the Global Alliance for Disability in Media and Entertainment, requesting the French government to end the discriminatory ban on this video. Sign it here.

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