Gerber Baby company chose the new face for its 2018 campaign and, in a historic first, a child with Down syndrome will star as the face of the company.
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” said Gerber president Bill Partyka, according to TODAY. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
He added that Lucas’s smile stole the hearts of the Gerber campaign team.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 7, 2018
— Kristen Dahlgren (@kristendahlgren) February 7, 2018
“We’re hoping this will impact everyone — that it will shed a little bit of light on the special needs community and help more individuals with special needs be accepted and not limited,” father Jason Warren told the Today Show. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” said his mother, Cortney Warren. “We’re hoping when he grows up and looks back on this, he’ll be proud of himself and not ashamed of his disability,” she added.
There were more than 140,000 entries for the 2018 Gerber baby slot.
“We believe if brands represent children with a disability, they are communicating their value to our society,” said Katie Driscoll, founder and president of Changing the Face of Beauty, a nonprofit organization that encourages the integration of individuals with disabilities into advertising and the media. “Moves like this move us closer to a more inclusive world.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 214 in December, effectively banning doctors from aborting babies testing positive for Down Syndrome, making Ohio the fourth state to ban Down syndrome abortions. The bill will take effect in late March.
Utah lawmakers also moved to push forward a bill banning abortion for unborn babies with Down syndrome, voting to advance the measure to the House floor in the last week of January. (RELATED: Now Utah Is Cutting A Path To Ban Down Syndrome Abortions).
As of 2015, France had a 77 percent termination rate and Denmark had a 98 percent termination rate for unborn Down syndrome babies. In the United Kingdom, 90 percent of pregnant women with a positive Down syndrome test receive an abortion, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation. (RELATED: CBS Says Down Syndrome Is Disappearing In Iceland, But Here’s What’s Really Happening)
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