A video showing happy children with Down syndrome has been banned from French television, after judges ruled it could be upsetting for women who have aborted children with the condition.
The Council of State ruled that the short pro-life film could ‘disturb the conscience of women who, in accordance with the law, have made personal life choices’.
The video, called Dear Future Mom, shows children telling a mother whose child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome that the infant ‘can be happy – just like I am’.
In its ruling, the court upheld a ban previously imposed by the French Broadcasting Council.
Despite the television ban, the short film – which was released in 2014 for World Down Syndrome Day – has been viewed more than seven million times on YouTube.
Research has found that 80 per cent of French mothers-to-be who find their unborn child has Down syndrome opt for an abortion.
The ban was appealed by the Jerome Lejeune Foundation in France, a research charity which specialises in genetic conditions such as Down syndrome – and one of the video’s producers.
After the court’s decision, foundation president Jean-Marie Le Mene accused judges of removing happy Down syndrome children from view, and said it put the destruction and protection of life on an equal level ‘as if the two acts had the same value’.
He continued: ‘Indeed, experience shows that women who have given birth to a child with a disability do not regret having chosen life.’
Sie Whitten, president of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, told the Catholic News Agency that the decision was ‘shocking’ and ‘offensive’, adding: ‘We need to stand up to this. We need to join the people in France who understand that is a slippery slope.’
Following the ruling, Kerry Abel, chair of pro-choice group Abortion Rights, told MailOnline that women should be trusted to make their own decisions.
She said: ‘Abortion Rights recognises that we live in a society that discriminates against disabled people, and also that disabled women are denied real choice.
‘Being pro-choice means to trust women to know their circumstances and keep open all options.
‘No woman should be forced to either terminate or carry to term a pregnancy, no matter her situation and whether or not the foetus shows signs of impairment. The decision of any woman to have an abortion is hers alone to make and should be respected.’