France Passes Law to Put Operators of Pro-Life Web Sites in Prison for Two Years

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 16, 2017   |   5:32PM   |   Washington, DC

France is becoming an increasingly hostile environment for people who think babies in the womb deserve a right to life.

On Thursday, the French legislature passed a new law that could jail people who operate pro-life websites that they claim give women “misleading” information to discourage them from having an abortion.

Politico reports:

The conservative Senate sought to water down the draft bill, but the lower house — the left-leaning National Assembly — had the final say, and lawmakers adopted the law by a show of hands on Thursday morning, AFP reported.

“Obstruction to abortion” has already been a crime in France, and the new law applies the existing punishment — up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine — to online activity.

Laurence Rossignol, the minister for women’s rights, said activists would still be free to voice their opposition to abortion, as long as it is “under the condition they openly state who they are, what they do and what they want,” according to AFP.

Les Républicains, the conservative political party in France, called the law “government censorship” and vowed to challenge it in the courts.

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 extends an existing protection against physical intimidation over abortion to digital media and would extend the scope of a 1993 law that criminalizes “false information” related abortions to digital media.

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Breitbart previously reported:

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.

[French politician Marion] 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.

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.

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.