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France criminalizes websites that inform women of abortion’s negative impacts

France

At National Right to Life News, Dave Andrusko reports on French lawmakers’ decision to prosecute websites which “aim to dissuade women from terminating a pregnancy by using ‘misleading claims’ on abortion.”

Andrusko states that “misleading claims” can be defined as “websites which ’emphasize the negative psychological and physical impacts that abortions can have on women.'” He adds that those who see this as an attack on free speech “are labeled ‘right-wing politicians and Catholic organizations.'”

France’s health minister, Marisol Touraine, has been quoted as saying that the new law was put in place partly because women shouldn’t be made to “feel guilty” when considering abortion.

Andrusko notes that the same reason was given for France’s decision to ban a commercial positively portraying children with Down syndrome — that women who had aborted children with Down syndrome might be disturbed with guilt for choosing abortion.

The UK’s Catholic Herald reports:

The law was passed by the National Assembly, which has a Socialist majority….

The new crime is punishable with two years in jail or a €30,000 fine.

Laurence Rossignol, the minister for women’s rights, said pro-life activists were still at liberty to voice their opposition to abortion, as long as it was “under the condition they openly state who they are, what they do and what they want.” …

French law already prevents pro-lifers from demonstrating outside abortion clinics. Supporters of the new bill argue that pro-life tactics have moved online and must be stopped.

Catholic Herald also notes that “tens of thousands” of people protested the law in France at the end of January.

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