Sunday, December 04, 2016

France Debates Bill to Criminalize Online Pro-Life Advocacy

French lawmakers on Thursday will debate and vote on a Socialist government-backed draft law that could criminalize online pro-life advocacy. The legislation would extend the ambit of already-illegal “interference” in abortion to cover digital media.

Any website carrying material that is deemed to be “deliberately misleading, intimidating and/or exerting psychological or moral pressure” aimed at persuading a mother not to abort her child could face criminal charges, with punishments of two years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros ($31,800).

A Catholic archbishop has called the move “a very serious attack on the principles of democracy.”

Supporters, including Families Minister Laurence Rossignol, say the goal is to prevent the dissemination of inaccurate or biased information, but critics view the wording as vague and dangerous.

“One could hardly be vaguer in the description,” argues Gregor Puppinck, director of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) – an international affiliate of the Virginia Beach-based American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) – which opposes the initiative.

“It is difficult to understand how the mere consulting of a website information page could obstruct the practice of an abortion or the information about it,” he said in an article Wednesday. “This vague crime is opened to the most extensive interpretations.”

Puppinck says that that clearly violates a French Constitutional Council ruling that legislation must define crimes “in terms precise and clear enough to exclude arbitrary decisions.”

France legalized abortion on demand until the end of the 12th week of pregnancy – or what is known officially as “voluntary interruption of pregnancy” (L’interruption volontaire de grossesse or IVG) – in 1975.

In 1993 another law was passed, creating the offense of hindering or interfering in an abortion – aimed at preventing pro-life activists from physically blocking access to, or occupying or otherwise targeting abortion facilities.

The law was later broadened to cover “moral and psychological pressure” aimed at dissuading abortion, and the legislation now under consideration seeks to widen that further into the digital realm.

In the new law’s crosshairs are websites like, which offers counselling, practical support, and resources that include information about medical and psychological risks entailed in having an abortion.

The French Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s official abortion website warns women about sites of that nature.

“Some websites that you find via search engines will tell you that they offer neutral and medical information but are actually edited by anti-abortion activists,” it says.

“They are sometimes hard to recognize but beware systematically sites and hotlines devoting a large part of their content to motherhood and supposed complications and injuries from abortion.”

The government site instead recommends a handful of – hardly neutral – websites, including that of the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s French affiliate, Planning Familial, one run by a national association of abortion clinics, and a feminist blog that includes a searchable database of abortion clinics across France.

A posting published on the website rejected the notion that it would deliberately mislead by offering disinformation.

“Our information and prevention efforts for women cannot be disparaged so rudely,” it said, protesting against what it called a “scandalous attempt to muzzle us and stigmatize us by undermining our moral integrity.”

Going further, identified what it called “eight lies” on the government website, such as the assertion that there are no post-abortion psychological consequences.

(Update:  The French National Assembly on Thursday adopted the controversial bill, with the support of leftists and a majority of centrists, while right wing lawmakers opposed it. The measure now goes to the Senate. Family Minister Laurence Rossignol argued during the debate that “freedom of expression should not be confused with manipulating minds.”)



Bird of Paradise said...

Big brother rears his ugly head in france make it a crime to oppose abortion and say CHOOSE LIFE

Anonymous said...

And yet leftists will still claim that it's the right who opposes freedom and would implement "thought control" crimes.

ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N said...

The only mandate a grabbermint would have TOWARD a right to life is because TAXPAYER - present or future. Think about how that works in relation to abortion and all it encompasses.

Anonymous said...

It is OK to kill unborn babies, but it is not OK to oppose the activity ?????

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

To liberals chopping down a oak tree is a bigger crime then euthinsing grandpa

Anonymous said...

If you don't like abortions, then don't fucking have one. Mind your own business.

Anonymous said...

Good for France!!!

Anonymous said...

Criminalising information that is deliberately misleading is one thing.
Banning information that is intimidatory is also perhaps tolerable.
But criminalising information online which merely exerts psychological or moral pressure would mean criminalising all expressions of contrary views. No matter whether your opinion was based on humanism, religion or science, you could not voice it online if it was pro-life as it might 'pressure' someone planning to have an abortion?
Oh France - what has become of you? Liberty has died in one of its birth-places. Attempting to silence dissent is never the answer.

Stymphalian Bird the man eating bird witha brass beak and shoots his feathers said...

Anon 5:16 PINHEAD

Anonymous said...

Stymphalian Bird SHITHEAD

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:10 - Your own business ends where your body ends and someone elses body starts and in this case (abortion) there is another body involved but idiots like you refuse to see the obvious and wish to consider only the person they can see so this barbarity continues.

Anonymous said...

4:55 so says someone who is pro war and pro capital punishment. Typical right wing hypocrite. There is a special place in hell for the likes of you. Mind your own fucking business, asshole.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:14 - Again, you refuse to face truth and simply try to deflect.

Warriors have knowingly signed up for the risk and murderers can be called to account for their crimes. Innocent children in the womb are neither, it's your stubborn ignorance and continued refusal the see the horror of what you are promoting that's creating a hell on earth for those who have committed the sin of merely being inconvenient to their parents.

Anonymous said...

So much for the leftist lie of being "pro-choice!"