Tens of thousands of pro-lifers marched on the streets of Paris, France on Sunday to urge the government to stop approximately 220,000 unborn babies from being killed in abortions every year.
The Local in France reports the pro-life march brought approximately 50,000 pro-lifers to the French capital. Many carried signs that read, “Protecting the weak is truly strong.” Because a presidential election is coming up shortly, many also publicly called on the candidates to protect babies and moms from abortion.
Jean Marie Le Mene, president of the Jerome Lejeune Foundation, said current laws have created a culture where abortion is “commonplace” in France. Le Mene urged the next president to set “public health policy that fights against abortion.”
One of the most critical issues addressed at the rally was a bill that would ban pro-life websites in France. RFI reports Parliament is scheduled to vote on the bill this week. The French National Assembly passed the bill in December.
The bill, which still has to pass the Senate, extends an existing protection against physical intimidation about abortion to digital media and would extend the scope of a 1993 law that criminalizes “false information” related abortions to digital media.
Bruno Retailleau, who heads the Republicans party group in the French Senate, previously said the bill “is totally against freedom of expression.” Speaking on radio, he said the bill went against the “spirit” of the 1975 law legalizing abortion, which calls for women to be informed of alternatives.
Abortion activists have accused pro-life campaigners of pretending to give neutral information while putting pressure on women not to have abortions.
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Pro-life attorney Gregor Puppinck, who is based in Europe, previously explained: “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,” Puppinck added.
French leaders also have been working to suppress messages that could be perceived as pro-life. In November, French television officials rejected an award-winning video from World Down Syndrome Day because they said it would “disturb” women who aborted babies with Down syndrome.
In 1975, France legalized abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Approximately 220,000 unborn babies are killed in abortions every year in the country, according to The Local.