Imagine you’re the parent of a daughter with Down syndrome who’s fighting cancer and you see your child’s picture in an ad for a genetic testing company that promotes “accurate” prenatal testing for fetal abnormalities. Then imagine that you didn’t give the company permission to use your photo. Regardless of your position on the issue, wouldn’t you be outraged that a multibillion-dollar corporation stole a picture of your daughter?
Well, that’s exactly what happened to Christie Hoos, a mother of four children who blogs about her family at So Here’s Us. According to Christie’s website, she keeps the identity of all of her children protected and rarely posts pictures of them. But this didn’t stop Genoma, a business based in Switzerland, from stealing Christie’s photo, exploiting her daughter and using it to sell their new genetic test for Trisomy 21, “Tranquility”.
Christie explained how she felt after finding out that her daughter was being used to promote Genoma’s business on her blog. She said, “To know that this happened infuriated me, but when I saw with my own eyes… her sweet face on that ugly banner, it broke my heart. While my girl courageously fights for her life, this company questions whether she has a life worth living. How dare they.”
She added, “The campaign is so disparaging towards individuals with Down Syndrome that it incited an avalanche of complaints from concerned parents and disability rights activists in Spain. One parent is quoted in a local publication asking “what mother could allow her daughter to be photographed and used for this campaign?” Not me. Never. I would never have allowed this.”
Thankfully, a family that knew Christie contacted her about the photo and the company has since issued an apology. In a letter Genoma’s CEO, Frederic Amar, said, “The image displaying a charming smiling girl was meant to convey a message of life and vitality to the healthcare professionals. Displaying this image in public in Madrid was the result of an internal error of communication, the image was not meant to be displayed in Madrid. It was an honest mistake. We have put systems in place to stop this from happening again.”
Additionally, the company said, “we love children, all of them” and that the purpose of their genetic tests is to help pregnant women “avoid unnecessary amniocentesis which has a risk of harming the unborn child.” As LifeNews previously reported, even though companies like Genoma advertise their product by saying that it allows women to be informed, in actuality it gives most children with Down syndrome a death sentence. In Spain, where the building sized ad was placed, 95% of women who receive the prenatal diagnosis that their child will have the condition end their life through abortion. To make matters worse, these tests are not always accurate and the companies that sell them often fail to tell expecting parents or their doctors about the significant risks of false results.
It is a tragedy that a young girl who is currently battling cancer was used as apart of Genoma’s business plan to sell more genetic tests, which will ultimately lead to more abortions. However, this should remind pro-lifers that we can fight back against the genocide that’s taking place on unborn babies with Down syndrome by exposing corporations that exploit children for their own gain.
Christie said it best, “They broke the law. This heartless company that used my daughter’s photo without our consent, or that of our photographer. Legally a copyright infringement, but also breaking what is referred to in copyright law as ‘moral law’ since her image was used in a derogatory fashion. They insulted and abused my innocent child in their pursuit of profit. They broke faith with common human decency. And the world is watching.”
Here’s the picture of Christine’s daughter and the offensive ad it appeared on: