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New Down syndrome Barbie doll has pro-lifers cheering: 'A huge step forward for inclusion'

Composite screenshot of @AP Twitter video

Mattel has just announced the release of a Barbie doll with Down syndrome, and it seems pro-life advocates across social media couldn't be happier about it.

The AP tweeted about the new doll on Tuesday, prompting a series of pro-life replies and quote tweets:

  • "This is good," said Zuby, a U.K. rapper who became an international sensation in 2019 when he demonstrated the absurdity of so-called transgenderism by briefly identifying as a woman in order to break the British women's deadlift record.
  • "Love this," added Lila Rose, president of Live Action, an anti-abortion organization.
  • "It’s pro-life," Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire said about the new Barbie. "The Left is exterminating Down syndrome children. They are the victims of an actual eugenics campaign. This is one case where 'inclusion and representation' actually is important."
Even a Mattel executive implied a respect for all life in her statement about the doll. "We are proud to introduce a Barbie doll with Down syndrome to better reflect the world around us and further our commitment to celebrating inclusion through play," said Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel.
"Our goal is to enable all children to see themselves in Barbie," the statement continued, "while also encouraging children to play with dolls who do not look like themselves. Doll play outside of a child’s own lived experience can teach understanding and build a greater sense of empathy, leading to a more accepting world."
Eléonore Laloux, a city councilwoman in France who also has Down syndrome, has embraced Mattel's inclusive message. "I want to share my experience and show the world that you can live happily" with Down syndrome, she said in French.

To ensure an accurate depiction of Down syndrome in the doll, the people at Mattel did their due diligence in the development phase. The company partnered with the National Down Syndrome Society, and together, they made sure that the Barbie with Down syndrome would be both a positive and an accurate representation of those with Down's. For example, the Barbie with Down's wears a necklace with three chevrons, which represent the three copies of the 21st chromosome, the genetic anomaly that causes Down syndrome. The dress worn by the Barbie with Down's is also blue and yellow and decorated with butterflies, the colors and symbols of Down syndrome awareness.

In addition, the Barbie with Down's depicts the body type often associated with Down syndrome: short frame, almond-shaped eyes, and a flat nasal bridge. She is even wearing ankle foot orthotics, which many persons with Down's need for support and stability.

"This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation," said a press release from Kandi Pickard, NDSS president and CEO. "It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating."

The doll with Down syndrome could, indeed, mark a shift in the way Western culture views people with the condition. Recent statistics indicate a horrifying trend in Iceland, where nearly 100% of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Before Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, the U.S. was only slightly more welcoming to babies with Down's. A 2020 report from Life News indicated that 67% of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in America are aborted.

Whether the Dobbs decision overturning Roe will significantly affect that rate remains to be seen. In the meantime, Michelle Sagan of NDSS remains hopeful that the new Barbie will help society see the joyfulness so often shown by those with Down syndrome, rather than the stigma of having the condition. "We hope that this will open conversations about Down syndrome and how wonderful this community is," she said.

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