France bans video of people with Down’s syndrome smiling
22 November 2016
The French State Counsel said that people with Down's syndrome smiling was "inappropriate"
The French State Counsel has rejected an appeal by people with Down's syndrome and their friends to lift the ban on broadcasting the "Dear Future Mom" video on French television.
The video features a number of young people with Down's syndrome from around the world telling people about their lives. It was produced in 2014 to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day, and aimed to reassure mothers with a prenatal diagnosis of the condition.
The ban on the video was originally imposed by the French Broadcasting Counsel. The State Counsel said that allowing people with Down's syndrome to smile was "inappropriate" because it was "likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices".
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Unborn children can now be seen in 3D virtual reality
Virtual reality images of the baby at 26 weeks after combining ultrasound and MRI scans. Image: Radiological Society of North America
A ground-breaking new scanning technology is allowing mothers and fathers to meet their unborn children in three dimensional virtual reality.
The technique works by merging ultrasound imagery with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which scans segments of the womb and baby to build a 3D model which can be brought to life by using a virtual reality headset.
Scientists say that as well as helping parents to bond with their baby, the technique could be useful in picking up problems, such as obstructions in the airways, which would allow preparations for emergency surgery to be made when the baby was born.
Pope Francis extends permission for priests to absolve abortion
The Pope has declared that priests throughout the world will continue to have the right to forgive the sin of a procured abortion.
In an apostolic letter, he said "I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary".
He went on to say "I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God's mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father."
Previously, only bishops and special confessors could absolve penitents of abortion and lift the excommunication incurred, although priests in Britain and the US had already been granted these faculties.