October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, but rather than allow one mother to share the joy of raising her son who has Down syndrome, Twitter censored his photo.
In honor of Down syndrome awareness, President Donald Trump tweeted, “it is incumbent upon us as a Nation, to continue empowering [people with Down syndrome] to reach their full potential.” Russ Vought, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, shared the president’s tweet and the mother of a boy with Down syndrome replied to Vought with her message and a picture of her three-year-old son Holt.
“We are so grateful to be his parents,” Holt’s mother @trishie818 wrote. “He blesses all who meet him.” Attached to the tweet was a picture of Holt smiling.
According to Students for Life of America, the tweet remained censored until at least October 5, but the photo is now visible.
This, however, is not the first time an image of a person with Down syndrome has been censored on social media. In 2012, Diana Cornwell posted photos of her seven-year-old son with Down syndrome competing in an event for the Special Olympics. Facebook blocked the photos and sent her a message saying she had violated its user agreement. Her account was disabled for three days until she removed the photos. Facebook eventually apologized and blamed “human error” for the incident.
This is my son, Holt. He was born with Down syndrome. We are so grateful and blessed to be his parents. He blesses all who meet him. Thank you for your message. We agree completely #MoreAlikeThanDifferent #LifeIsBettterWithYou pic.twitter.com/vsNFVChKhb
— TrishNes (@trishie818) October 1, 2020
In 2018, Twitter censored a young woman with Down syndrome after she posted pro-life images on her Twitter account. “After more than 24 hours I’m allowed back into my Twitter account,” wrote Charlotte Helen Fien after the platform lifted the block on her account. “Funny how Twitter allows willy pics and boobs. Funny how Twitter allows paedophiles and other scum. Funny how Twitter doesn’t like my Pro Life pics and blocks them.”
Despite the hair-trigger blocking of people with Down syndrome on social media platforms, Twitter allows abusive tweets directed at people with Down syndrome to remain on the platform. Rachel Mewes, whose daughter Betsy has Down syndrome, spent a full year trying to get Twitter to remove offensive and hateful tweets against people with disabilities. She told the Daily Star that Twitter rarely takes any action against the offensive tweets when she reports them.
The abortion industry uses Down syndrome as an excuse to keep late-term abortion legal. A CBS News report found that between 1995 and 2011, 67% of preborn babies who were diagnosed with Down syndrome were aborted for discriminatory reasons. As long as American society continues to discriminate against preborn babies with Down syndrome, born individuals with Down syndrome will also face discrimination.
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