The French government is about to criminalize information websites that “exert psychological or moral pressure” on pregnant women to not go through with an abortion.
The bill passed the French National Assembly and will now need approval from the senate before becoming law. It was introduced to stop websites with a seemingly neutral stance on the issue from promoting “anti-abortion propaganda.”
Breaking the law would result in up to two years in prison and a 30,000 euro ($32,000) fine.
Women’s Minister Laurence Rossignol told parliament the legislation isn’t meant to clamp down on the pro-life stance in general, but rather to stop websites from “manipulating people.” Catholics around the country disagree and claim the bill is a threat to freedom of expression.
Abortion became a hot topic when a commercial to commemorate World Down Syndrome Day was banned. The commercial featured happy children with down syndrome cheering a positive message to future mothers. The French Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, upheld the ban in November, saying it could “disturb the conscience” of French women who have aborted down syndrome fetuses.
Francois Fillon, the conservative frontrunner for the presidency, says he can’t “approve abortion” because of his faith, but that he wouldn’t make changes to the current legislation if elected.
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