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Ivy Kimble and her mother, Kristin
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‘Adorable’ Down syndrome child appears in American Girl doll catalog

Martin M. Barillas Martin M. Barillas Follow Martin

CHICAGO, November 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Ivy Kimble, a 4-year-old girl diagnosed with Down syndrome, was featured in the catalog of American Girl dolls in a first for the popular brand. 

Little Ivy appears in the October and November catalogs of American Girl dolls, making a splash in promoting the popular brand’s dolls and accessories just in time for Christmas. Ivy’s mother, Kristin, told USA Today that she took her three daughters to a casting call in Chicago that took place in the spring. It was not until last month that Kimble learned Ivy had been selected to appear in the catalog, wearing a bright red sparkly frock. Julie Parks of American Girl described Ivy, saying, "She’s adorable and great to work with, and the shots we captured with her are beautiful." 

Kristin’s mother said Ivy has a “magnetic personality” that inspires people to “instantly fall in love with her,” according to USA Today. On local WCIU television, the New Lenox, Illinois, mother said inclusion of children diagnosed with Down syndrome or disabilities is part of a needed public conversation. “It’s very important to talk about inclusion,” said Kimble, who related that Ivy’s friends want to be “just like her.” 

“Wow,” Kimble said on WCIU, “these four-year-olds, maybe they know, maybe they don’t know that she has Down syndrome, but they’re idolizing her, saying ‘I want to be like her’ and looking up to her. Wouldn’t be great if this generation grew up looking at everybody, whether they have a diagnosis, disability, or any ability or unique quality, and thought about what they’re doing and thinking, ‘I want to be like them.’ I think that’s the conversation and a kind of important takeaway.”

Young Ivy gave spirited answers to questions posed by interviewers. Clutching a baby doll, she expressed delight when she was given a candy Advent calendar and other chocolate treats.

In 2005, the Pro-Life Action League launched a boycott of American Girl dolls because of the parent company’s support of Girls Inc. The Mississippi-based American Family Association called on the toy company to cease its support for Girls Inc., which it identified as  "a pro-abortion, pro-lesbian advocacy group." In a statement to American Family’s nearly 3 million members, Rev. Donald E. Wildmon said, "Let American Girl know they are making a terrible mistake." Other groups, including Georgia Right to Life, joined in the boycott. 

American Girl dolls have been a staple for young girls since 1986. The dolls and accompanying novels depict girls of different ethnicities, historical time periods, faiths, and social classes. The dolls were originally developed by the Pleasant Company, which is now a subsidiary of the huge Mattel toy conglomerate.

As prejudices are re-examined, people with a Down syndrome diagnosis continue to break the mold. For instance, in January, Andrew Self, a 21-year-old Briton, gave a show-stopping dance performance on the UK's "The Greatest Dancer" program. Self, who has Down syndrome, brought the audience and judges to tears with a routine in tune with Justin Timberlake's hit song "Can't Stop The Feeling."

Matthew Morrison, the judge captain on the show, averred that Self’s performance was inspirational. “I just have to say that I think you’re going to inspire a lot of people with the performance that you just gave today,” he said.  

In the Ukraine, a man with Down syndrome became the first with his diagnosis to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Early this year, Bohdan Kravchuk graduated with a degree in history, after studying five years at Lesya Ukrainka East European National University, receiving high marks. 

In 2017, Frank Stephens, an actor and athlete, testified before Congress and denounced the eugenic screening of Down syndrome babies. Calling for more research into Down syndrome, he said, “Sadly, across the world, a notion is being sold that maybe we don't need research concerning Down syndrome. Some people say prenatal screens will identify Down syndrome in the womb and those pregnancies will just be terminated.”

Saying it was hard for him to say the above words, Stephens continued, “I completely understand that the people pushing this particular ‘final solution’ are saying that people like me should not exist. That view is deeply prejudiced by an outdated idea of life with Down syndrome. Seriously, I have a great life!”

The United States reportedly aborts as many as 67 percent of pre-born babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. However, Iceland is in the lead, having managed to abort 100 percent of babies diagnosed with the syndrome. Denmark is not far behind, having aborted 98 percent of Down syndrome babies in 2017. In Spain, demographers calculate that 100 percent of Down syndrome babies will be aborted within the next 15 years.

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