In the run up to World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st, an advocacy organization has released an ad called Dear Future Mom that made me cry ugly, ugly tears.
The multilingual ad features children and adults living with Down Syndrome speaking to future mothers of babies with the condition. The overt message of the ad is that people with DS can laugh, play, love, work, and live happy lives. From the Italian ad agency behind the ad's website:
The chosen theme for World Down Syndrome Day this year is the right to happiness and well-being of people with Down syndrome. The goal is to promote a culture of diversity and true integration into society, especially in the worlds of school and work.
The sad subtext of that message is that in the western world, women who find out they are pregnant with a child with Down Syndrome choose abortion around 90% of the time, often because they fear their child won't live a "good life."
I've written at length about how the 9-out-of-10 statistic is tough for me, a vocally pro-choice woman who grew up with a very close relative with Down Syndrome, to swallow. And I'd never tell other women how they must or must not form their families. But, as a pro-choice woman, I'd want prospective mothers to base their decisions around whether or not to abort a pregnancy to rely on facts rather than fear, and ads like this one help shine light on the reality of living with or raising a child with Down Syndrome.
Ads like this also make it rain on my face.