Lawmakers in France have voted to ban supposedly “misleading” pro-life web sites and the reaction to the vote from pro-life advocates there and around the world has been swift.
After a heated debate, the French National Assembly passed a bill to outlaw websites supposedly spreading misinformation about abortion. Abortion activists have accused Pro-Life campaigners of pretending to give neutral information while putting pressure on women not to have abortions.
The new law, which still has to pass the Senate, extends an existing protection against physical intimidation over abortion to digital media and would extend the scope of a 1993 law, which criminalizes “false information” related abortions, to digital media.
Bruno Retailleau, who heads the Republicans party group in the Senate, says the bill “is totally against freedom of expression.” Speaking on radio, he claimed the bill went against the “spirit” of the 1975 law legalizing abortion, which called for women to be informed of alternatives.
French politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen has sharply criticized the law as well, according to a Brietbart report, calling it an “aberration” and a frontal attack on “freedom of expression.”
Providing “false” information on abortion online would be punishable by up to two years in prison and a 30,000 euro fine, a stipulation that pro-life advocates were quick to ridicule.
Maréchal-Le Pen noted that the pro-abortion government has arrogated to itself the right to judge between true or false information on abortion, which is well outside its competence. An official government website, she added, currently tells women considering an abortion that “there are no physical or psychological after-effects from abortion,” which is anything but an established fact.
“In reality, the government seeks to kill any alternative to its official propaganda that aims at trivializing abortion,” she said.
The politician also stated that it is patronizing and insulting toward women to suggest they cannot handle contact with alternative opinions on abortion. “Women are responsible beings who should be treated as such,” she said.
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This is “an aberration and total censorship of freedom of expression,” Maréchal-Le Pen declared, adding that the attack on pro-life websites is a last-ditch attempt of the dying Left to reassert itself.
She also said that women currently “receive full government reimbursement for all abortion expenses repayment of all acts related to abortion,” while noting the irony that “an ultrasound of a woman who aborts is better reimbursed than an ultrasound of a woman who wants to keep her child.”
What’s really going on?
Pro-life attorney Gregor Puppinck, who is based in Europe, explains: “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.”
“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,” he said.
“The widespread recourse to abortion is a social issue and public health problem which society must solve with a prevention policy, not with censorship,’ he added.