The French Parliament approved a bill of law instituting a new criminal offense: obstruction to abortion, a frontal attack on freedom of expression in the name of a free choice for women.
A new bill voted this week in France states that providing “false” information on abortion would be punishable by up to two years in prison and a 30,000 euro fine and that “in exercising, by any means, [not only on the Internet] moral and psychological pressures, threats or any act of intimidation against people seeking information on a voluntarily termination of pregnancy”.
Publishing documents showing pictures of aborted foetuses, statistics on abortion’s medical and psychological consequences or testimonies of women will be prohibited regardless of their truthfulness as they would be considered as a moral or a psychological pressure on any person seeking information about abortion, explained Gregor Puppink, director of the European centre for Law and Justice.
But “true objective information on abortion is, by nature, dissuasive.” reminds Jean-Marie Le MENE, President of the Lejeune Foundation.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that abortion is a “horrendous crime” and a “mortal sin” could also be punished by this law on the ground of “moral and psychological pressure” on people seeking information on abortion, underlines Gregor Puppink.
The history of the law
The bill was introduced by the socialist minister Laurence Rossignol who denounced pro-life websites as “misleading” in the fact that they look too similar to official government websites and because they offer support hotlines which provide advice to pregnant women and encourage them not to interrupt the pregnancy and to keep their baby.
The Left majority approved the bill and only a part of the Right-winged minority voted against it.
The most vivid criticisms of this censorship
Cardinal André Vingt-Trois also criticized “the French government’s obsession with abortion”, stating that the new legislation’s aim seemed to be the “promotion of abortion as a normal outcome of pregnancy”. Furthermore, he questioned the government motives which would make the counteraction of the influence of pro-life websites its top priority instead of focusing on websites promoting “radical terrorism”.
The President of the French Bishops Conference, Archbishop Georges Pontier, wrote an open letter to President François Hollande denouncing the danger of this new law. Abortion “remains a serious act which deeply questions conscience”, women experience “existential distress” when facing “this dramatic choice”. “Should someone (…) pressure?” asks the Bishop. He also underlines that this bill “undermines the foundations of our freedoms and especially freedom of expression” and qualified it as a “very serious attack on the principles of democracy”. He added that “the serious subject of abortion cannot be locked up in militant positions”.
The text will now be discussed and certainly approved by the Assemblée Nationale in the coming weeks before the end of François Hollande legislature at the end of February…. To reassert the Left before the Presidential elections in May. A coalition of politicians standing against the bill and Pro-Life activists could go before the Supreme Court or even before the European Court of Human Rights to defend freedom of speech and protect the life of every human being.