Mom Finds Her Child With Down Syndrome Is Being Used to Sell Prenatal Tests

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A mom hit the roof when she found out a photo of her daughter -- who has Down syndrome -- was used without her permission in a really inappropriate way: in ads for prenatal testing.


Detailing her disturbing discovery on her blog So Here's Us..., Christie Hoos says a Swiss bio-medical company named Genoma stole her photo, which was posted online. From there, the company used it on the front page of their website and in a building-sized banner in Spain advertising the prenatal test Tranquility.

The problem? Prenatal testing is often performed by parents as a way to screen for -- and abort -- babies with genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome. So, in essence, this girl's face has been turned into a poster child for a test that suggests that kids like her shouldn't even exist!

Well, Christine wasn't too happy about that, and posted an outraged tweet with a photo of the banner ad (up in Spain) below:

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Where do we start with what's wrong with this? For one, it's bad enough for a company to use some child's photo without asking for permission and paying. But the bigger problem, of course, is the insulting way the photo was used, essentially as a warning: Better take this test or else you'll end up with a kid like THIS! 

In my mind, even if some mom did give a company permission to use a photo of their Down syndrome kid in a prenatal testing ad, that wouldn't be all fine and dandy either. Because think about it: If I were pregnant and spotted this ad, I couldn't help but think, "look at that adorable kid with Down syndrome ... oh, look, it's an ad for a test that enables us to, um, abort kids just like this one. Huh?!" Talk about mixed messages.

As a result, if I were considering prenatal testing, I'd probably steer clear of Tranquility purely because the ad is so insensitive, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The last thing I'd wanna do is reward such poor judgment with my money!

Since posting her complaint, Christie has reported updates that Genoma has removed her daughter from their ads and made efforts toward apologizing. So that's a step in the right direction.

And who knows? Maybe some good came out of this stolen photo fiasco: Perhaps a few parents saw the sweet photo of her child and decided to pass on prenatal testing entirely.

How do you feel about Down syndrome kids being used in ads for prenatal testing?


Image via MNStudio/shutterstock

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