French gov’t announces plan to criminalize websites opposing IVG (i.e., abortion, for those not in-the-know)

[IVG, or “interruption volontaire de la grossesse,” is French for “voluntary interruption of pregnancy. Interruption? Like when the phone rings during dinner? But this you don’t get to finish.]

September 29, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — The French minister for Families, Childhood and Women’s Rights is celebrating the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion with a plan to gag a number of websites that “mislead” women into thinking they give complete and honest information on abortion.

Laurence Rossignol unveiled plans to criminalize those sites that aim to dissuade women from obtaining a “voluntary interruption of pregnancy,” a procedure that is 100 percent state-funded in France during the first 12 weeks of gestation. Offenders will incur prison sentences of up to two years and fines up to 30,000 euro (about $33,650) when the plan becomes law. Rossignol has announced that the government will propose an amendment to a law entitled “Equality and Citizenship” to be examined by the French Senate on October 4.

The new offense, called “numerical obstruction,” aims to crack down on what Rossignol calls “manipulation” and “biased information” via the Internet in view of convincing women not to have an abortion.

“Moral and psychological maneuvers” in order to prevent abortion were criminalized in France as long ago as in 1993, ostensibly to prevent pro-life activists from trying to convince pregnant women to keep their baby. At the time, they were active near hospitals where abortions are performed. (In France, all public hospitals offering obstetrical services are required to procure abortions.) Fines and prison sentences were already hefty but in practice were seldom inflicted.

But the way the existing law is worded theoretically allows for prosecution of any kind of “pressure” in favor of life on a woman who is pregnant and seeking to put an end to her pregnancy. One example is that of a well-known pro-life activist, retired pediatrician Xavier Dor, who was heavily condemned last year for having shown knitted baby boots to a presumably pregnant woman at a Planned Parenthood center in Paris.

The Internet crackdown requires a new legal incrimination because it is difficult to prove that a woman has in effect been personally pushed to keeping her child by having consulted a website.

The government’s first move against Internet sites that present the negative aspects of abortion — such as, which speaks of the psychological risks and the trauma of abortion, as well as of pressures on women to abort and their subsequent regret, and offers a help line — was to create a counter-site.

[read more at the link]

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