Sen. Mike Lee: Protect Rights of Down Syndrome Americans in ‘Our Communities, Our Families, Our Culture’

By Lauretta Brown | December 7, 2016 | 11:54am EST
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) (AP Photo)

( – Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) made remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday in defense of an award-winning “Dear Future Mom” video, which was banned from airing on French television due to concerns that the expressions of happy children with Down syndrome in the video were “inappropriate” because they were "likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices.”

Lee read a column by George F. Will, which criticized the French court’s decision.

“The court has said, in effect,” Will wrote, “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.”

Will outlined the principles as: “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.”

Lee said that during this “time of change in our politics, here’s hoping it can be a season of change in our hearts as well.”

“Here in the United States, the free speech rights of groups like the Global Down Syndrome Foundation to produce videos like ‘Dear Future Mom’ – which I highly recommend - are protected by the First Amendment,” he continued.

“But the rights of actual Americans with Down syndrome – both born and unborn – can only be protected by their fellow citizens,” Lee emphasized, “and not just in our laws, but in our communities … our families… our culture.”

“This time of year, we would all do well to remember the life-changing joy that can come from the birth of a single, unexpected, and special child,” he said, “and also to remember the courage of their mothers and fathers, who chose life… the heroes who chose to make room at the inn.”

This past year, the issue of the targeting of unborn children with Down syndrome for abortion came up both in the U.S. and abroad.

Planned Parenthood sued Indiana in April when it attempted to enact a law banning abortions based solely on a diagnosis of a disability such as Down syndrome. A judge temporarily blocked enforcement of the law in July.

Also in the UK, the approval of a new, highly accurate prenatal screening test met backlash from the Don’t Screen Us Out campaign over concerns that its implementation is projected to result in a profound increase in the number of children with Down syndrome screened out by termination.

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