France to criminalize running anti-abortion websites

France is set to criminalize running anti-abortion websites by creating a new crime called "online obstruction of abortion," a move which would give abortion rights activists opportunities to file lawsuits against sites that put abortion in a negative light.

(REUTERS / Regis Duvignau)A child touches her pregnant mother's stomach at the last stages of her pregnancy in Bordeaux April 28, 2010.

The French National Assembly and the Senate have launched the initial steps to create the crime of online obstruction of abortion. The final bill is expected to be passed into law in February 2017, Crux details.

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The new crime would affect websites that discuss the possible psychological effects of abortion and those that promote alternatives to terminating pregnancy. Although the new crime would not be a ban, it has raised concern among those troubled over the possible censorship of information on pro-life sites.

Earlier this month, French politician Marion Marechal-Le Pen slammed a new law which criminalizes display of information on pro-life websites that are "deliberately misleading, intimidating and/or exerting psychological or moral pressure." For her, the law infringes on citizens' freedom of expression, Breitbart reports.

The said law imposes a maximum of two-years' imprisonment for putting up "false" information on abortion online, plus a fine of 30,000 Euros. Marechal-Le Pen pointed out that even the government's claim that abortion has no physical or psychological effects has no real basis.

"In reality, the government seeks to kill any alternative to its official propaganda that aims at trivializing abortion," said Marechal-Le Pen.

The President of the French Bishops Conference shares Marechal-Le Pen's views regarding the new law's infringement on their freedom of expression. In a letter written to France's president, he questioned why citizens are obliged not to consider an alternative to abortion.

The State Council had earlier issued a ruling to ban a video showing children with Down syndrome smiling. The video in question, titled "Dear Future Mom," was created for World Down Syndrome Day 2014 to assure pregnant women that their child could be happy despite their medical condition. According to the council, the video could disturb the conscience of women who had previously undergone abortion.

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