France Threatens Pro-Life Free Speech: Bans Pro-Life Video and Shuts Down Pro-Life Web Sites

International   |   Gregor Puppinck   |   Nov 29, 2016   |   12:19PM   |   Paris, France

Freedom of expression on abortion is currently being challenged in France. The French administration makes it every day more difficult for pro-life associations to express their ideas and to promote pro-life choices.

Two recent events illustrate this trend.

On the occasion of World Down Syndrome Day, a beautiful video entitled “Dear Future Mom” was broadcasted for several days on some French TV channels. But the French television authority (CSA) considered that broadcasting such a message of support, to reassure women expecting a baby affected with Down Syndrome, “was not of public interest”, and therefore asked the TV channels to stop broadcasting the spot.

The 7 young people affected with Down syndrome and featuring in this spot sued the CSA’s decision, but the Conseil d’État rejected their plea. It considered that the CSA’s decision was well-founded and that the content of the TV spot message was “inappropriate” for such a broadcasting. The children’s smiles might “disturb” women who have had abortions… The case may go to the European Court of Human Rights.

The second threat comes from the French Parliament in which a Commission just passed a bill targeting pro-life websites displaying a message intended to dissuade women from having an abortion.

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This bill, which contains only one article intends to extend the notion of “impediments” to abortion and creates a new crime of “digital interference” to abortion. The mere display on a website of, for instance, information about the risks of having an abortion, or an attempt to convince women that there are other solutions than abortion would be considered, with the new law, as a criminal offense punishable by up to 2 years of imprisonment and €30,000 fine.

This bill will be examined by the French Parliament in public debate on Thursday, December 1st .

Against these scandalous actions, the ECLJ has just launched a call for the prevention of abortion through public policy.

The widespread recourse to abortion is a social issue and public health problem which society must solve with a prevention policy, not with censorship.