French culture takes a nosedive

While you’re reflecting on things to be grateful for, include this: at least we’re not under the authority of France’s Council of State.

In 2014, a consortium of advocacy groups created a short video called “Dear Future Mom”, with the mom being a woman who is apprehensive after learning that she’s pregnant with a child who has Down syndrome. The video features people with Down Syndrome talking about their lives in a reassuring way, acknowledging the challenges but concluding that “people with Down Syndrome can live a happy life.”

That was a bit too much for the French Broadcasting Counsel, which refused to show the video. The Counsel’s decision was appealed to the French Council of State by some people with Down Syndrome and their advocates. In early November 2016, the Council came down on the side of the broadcaster.

Renate Lindeman, writing in the Huffington Post, explains the Council’s reasoning, with which she is not thrilled:

The State Counsel said that allowing people with Down syndrome to smile was “inappropriate” because people’s expression of happiness was “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices”.

In other words, a video promoting the value and worth of the lives of people with Down Syndrome is inappropriate because it might cause psychic pain to a woman who has chosen to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal anomaly of one kind or another.

In France, the score is right-not-to-be-offended 1, right-to-life 0.

The Jerome Lejeune Foundation, one of the makers of the video, is appealing the State Council’s decision to the European Court of Human Rights. That should be interesting.

Here is the video that kicked up the ruckus.

h/t Mark Shea and Renate Lindeman; see also Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA