Je ne regrette rien: France creates anti-conscience safe space

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The Wall Street Journal editorial reports that France's High Audiovisual Council (which sounds like nerds with tape on their glasses wielding gavels) has banned "a television commercial showing happy children with Down Syndrome."

Produced to commemorate World Down Syndrome Day, the commercial showed several cheerful children with DS addressing a mother considering abortion. "Dear future mom," says one, "don't be afraid." "Your child will be able to do many things," says another. "He'll be able to hug you." "He'll be able to run toward you." "He'll be able to speak and tell you he loves you."

France's High Audiovisual Council removed the commercial from air earlier this year, and in November the Council of State, the country's highest administrative court, upheld the ban, since the clip could "disturb the conscience" of French women who had aborted DS fetuses.

Advocates say the move hampers efforts to reverse the high rate of DS terminations. Ninety-six percent of DS pregnancies are terminated in France, according to the pro-life Jerome Lejeune Foundation, which sought to overturn the ban. Setting aside the abortion politics, the Council's reasoning is so broad that potentially any TV advocacy could be chilled.

Here's the ad:

This is amazing on several levels. Will they ban ads encouraging saving for retirement because they might disturb the consciences of people who chose to spend instead of saving?

The whole point of advertising is to disturb the viewer's contentment so that he'll spend money on your product.

How does a positive social or political change occur unless the consciences of citizens are disturbed as they are confronted with the damage caused by the status quo?

Of course, I wouldn't expect to see the High A/V Council apply this rule to an ad in any realm of debate beyond these two: sex and Islam and the consequences of each. The abortion industry is keen to suppress any information, no matter how innocuous or how winsomely presented, that might give a prospective abortion client second thoughts. Pro-life advocates have adjusted to avoid unnecessary offense, eschewing bloody photos of aborted fetuses, from which most people will avert their eyes. But the pro-aborts object even to images of healthy babies in utero, or, in this case, happy, healthy children -- any image that could undermine the fears and ignorance on which they prey.

This decision treats French citizens as children who need to be protected against the stirrings of their own consciences, so that they will persist in selfish, infantile behavior and remain dependent on the paternal state.


Here is the press release from Jerome Lejeune Foundation (en Francais) after the decision by the High Audiovisual Council.

In October 2015, the Jerome Lejeune Foundation challenged a Charlie Hebdo cover that depicted a disfavored politician, Nadine Morano, as a Down Syndrome baby. The cover called Morano "la fille cachée trisomique de de Gaulle" -- "the hidden trisomic daughter of De Gaulle." Jean Marie Le Méné, head of the foundation, writes that Charlie Hebdo is guilty of "chromosomal racism." He notes the discrimination faced by Down Syndrome children, even before birth, and reminds that people with Down Syndrome used to be called "mongoloid".

"Trisomique" refers to Charles de Gaulle's daughter Anne, who had Down Syndrome, but who was not hidden from the public. De Gaulle, the leader of the French resistance during World War II and monumental post-war president, said of his daughter, "This child also came as a grace, she helped me get over all the failures, get past any man, see further." Anne died in 1948 at the age of 20. Anne saved her father's life in 1962, when the frame of the photo he carried of her deflected an assassin's bullet.


George Will reacts:

So, what happens on campuses does not stay on campuses. There, in many nations, sensitivity bureaucracies have been enforcing the relatively new entitlement to be shielded from whatever might disturb, even inappropriate jokes. And now this rapidly metastasizing right has come to this: A video that accurately communicates a truthful proposition -- that Down syndrome people can be happy and give happiness -- should be suppressed because some people might become ambivalent, or morally queasy, about having chosen to extinguish such lives because . . .

This is why the video giving facts about Down syndrome people is so subversive of the flaccid consensus among those who say aborting a baby is of no more moral significance than removing a tumor from a stomach. Pictures persuade. Today's improved prenatal sonograms make graphic the fact that the moving fingers and beating heart are not mere "fetal material." They are a baby. Toymaker Fisher-Price, children's apparel manufacturer OshKosh, McDonald's and Target have featured Down syndrome children in ads that the French court would probably ban from television.

The court has said, in effect, that the lives of Down syndrome people -- and by inescapable implication, the lives of many other disabled people -- matter less than the serenity of people who have acted on one or more of three vicious principles: That the lives of the disabled are not worth living. Or that the lives of the disabled are of negligible value next to the desire of parents to have a child who has no special, meaning inconvenient, needs. Or that government should suppress the voices of Down syndrome children in order to guarantee other people's right not to be disturbed by reminders that they have made lethal choices on the basis of one or both of the first two inappropriate principles.

Here's a direct link to the high court ruling, which quotes the High A/V Club ruling:

« susceptible de troubler en conscience des femmes qui, dans le respect de la loi, avaient fait des choix de vie personnelle différents »

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 3, 2016 6:00 AM.

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