To defend the Dear Future Mom video, an initiative has been launched by the families of people with Down Syndrome. Indeed, they have taken this case, for abuse of power, in front of the State Council. The Foundation supports this initiative.
Below is the publication of the Press Release from these families:
For the first time in the history of justice, young adults with Down Syndrome, without any lawyers, have taken a case in front of the State Council to get a decision of the CSA(French audio-visual council), that censures their freedom of speech, annulled.
On the world day for Down Syndrome 2014, TF, M6, Canal+, and D8 (French TV channels) broadcasted for free a video clip entitled “Dear Future Mom”. This video clip staged several young people from France and abroad, all carriers of Down Syndrome. In it, they explain that despite their disability they are happy and can live, work, and love the same as everybody else.
Taken up on You Tube, this video clip met with huge success: it was seen by over 5 million people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju-q4OnBtNU
But on last June 25th, the CSA announced on its website that it had just written to the television channels to inform them that this video clip was not considered to be of “public interest”, telling them they should not have broadcasted it, and asking them not to repeat it in the Future.
The reason given by the CSA was the risk of worrying pregnant women, who might decide not to keep the foetus they are expecting, and that may be a carrier of Down Syndrome.
Informed about this censure, 6 young non-protected adults (meaning they are in the full exercise of their rights as adults) with Down Syndrome, filed a case in front of the State Council. They did not take on a lawyer. One of the young actresses of the video clip, an underage girl of 16, joined them through the intermediary of her mother.
This is a first in the history of Justice. Usually, in the case of people with mental disabilities, it is others who speak, think, and act for them because they are thought of as being “incapable” and, therefore, their opinion doesn’t count. The CSA even explained in its decision that people with Down Syndrome should only be allowed to express themselves in “supervised and contextualized” programs!
Neither the video clip nor the people in it ever make any references to abortion on medical grounds. The 7 claimants have no idea about this possible eventuality: they are, themselves, quite alive and fully aware of their disability (“it hurts” says one of them). They are simply asking to be given a place in society and that people look at them with benevolence instead of being over curious or rejecting them as is usually the case.
Today, these young adults are exercising their right to speak up because, according to them: “It’s a bit hard on people with Down Syndrome”; “You need to listen to them when they speak up”. And, as explained by Jean-Batiste: “I don’t defend myself against the baddies on my own. If they start bothering me, I prefer going to a judge”
In order to avoid any manipulation, their consent was obtained free from any pressure. The proof has been taken to the State Council under the form of a 2h30 recording of what they had to say.
These young people have the right to be seen and listened to on public television channels without been stigmatised over and over again. They just want to be listened to, accepted without restriction, embarrassment or condescension: they are asking the State Council for the right to be fully-fledged citizens.