France: Members of the National Assembly vote to criminalize hindrance to abortion, senators broaden definition of the crime

Source: FSSPX News

The National Assembly passed, on December 1, 2016, the socialist bill aiming to penalize websites for “disinformation” about abortion. The legislation sets a punishment of two years in prison and a 30,000-euro fine for any person who attempts, via Internet, to dissuade women from having abortions.

Laurence Rossignol.

According to Le Monde of December 1, “several domains are under fire,” and the evening daily cites ivg.net, avortement.net, and ecouteivg.org as sites suspected of disseminating “information considered dissuasive.” The bill does not envisage shutting down the sites, but opens the door to legal proceedings against those responsible for them. “There will be recorded tests and judicial proceedings,” Laurence Rossignol, minister for families, children and women’s right, told Le Monde.

The debate lasted nearly six hours at the National Assembly, according to Le Monde. The Republicans were mostly opposed. Republican Christian Kert, representative for Bouches-du- Rhône, excoriated a bill that “flirts dangerously with establishing thought crime.” Addressing Laurence Rossignol, former candidate in the right-wing primary and representative for Yvelines, Jean-Frédéric Poisson stated, “You have decided to silence those who do not think as you do. This forbids reference to the medical consequences and eventual complications of abortion.”

In a column in Valeurs actuelles dated November 30, Jean-Marie Le Méné, president of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, emphasized that “what is dissuasive with regard to abortion is not false information, but true information. Objective information about abortion—that calls things by their proper names—is by nature, and rightly, dissuasive.”

Yves de Kerdrel, editor of Valeurs actuelles, wonders, “Has our society become so utterly corrupted by “right thinking” that the defense of the right to life has become a fault, a criminal offense, an infamy even?” He deplores the fact that “not systematically directing women who want an abortion to providers must be considered a criminal offense.”

In Le Figaro of December 1, Thibaud Collin, philosopher and essayist, asks, “How can we understand that liberty, demanded vociferously when the issue at stake is allowing women to have abortions, is to be penalized when the issue at stake is providing those same women with informational materials so that they can make a more considered choice?” He concludes that women are “free only to have an abortion,” which shows that the representatives who voted for this law are “fanatics or fools; the one is never very far from the other.”

On another note, La Quadrature du Net, an organization defending Internet freedom, has also expressed concern, according to Le Monde, that the text of the law “is indisputably an infringement on freedom of expression.” Jean-Marie Le Méné confirms this, saying, “The Moscow Trials are back for those who defend the truth (…). Such is the triumph of law and the downfall of justice.”

Before the parliamentary debate, Archbishop Georges Pontier sent a letter on November 22, 2016 to François Hollande, reminding him that “induced abortion, whether you like it or not, remains a serious and grave action that weighs profoundly on the conscience.” President of the French Bishops’ Conference (CEF), he wrote that he fears that, following the adoption of this law, abortion will become “less and less voluntary, that is, less and less free.” He sees there a “grave precedent of limitation of freedom of expression on the Internet,” which would constitute “a very grave attack on democratic principles.”

On a more supernatural level, socialist representatives received an email from a priest warning them that they risked “eternal damnation” if they voted for the law. Interviewed by website francetvinfo on December 2, the religious, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed that it was “important to warn parliamentarians,” and that the representatives “are taking an enormous risk for their eternal salvation. They are opposing the natural law, the law of God. Killing a child in his mother’s womb cannot be a good action. It is criminal.”

This bill of law was amended and passed by the Senate on December 7, in an accelerated procedure, and will be definitively voted on by the parliament between now and the end of February 2017. The text adopted by the Senate expanded the definition of the criminal offense of hindering an abortion to include “moral and psychological pressures” as well as “threats or any act of intimidation.”

On December 7, Alliance Vita addressed an appeal to health minister Marisol Touraine, in which they requested that the government website on abortion take down “inaccurate or non-objective information about abortion,” which could lead persons who consult the page into error.

The appeal founds its stance on the same grounds invoked by supporters of the law and is targeted in particular at a video called, “Are there psychological consequences after an abortion?” in which a gynecologist affirms “that there are no long-term psychological consequences of abortion.” This statement, Alliance Vita states, contradicts the report of the General inspection of social affairs (IGAS) in 2010, which recognizes the lack of an objective study on the effects of abortion, which “remains an event that is often difficult to come to terms with on a psychological level.” The pro-life movement adds, “the denial of any long-term effects after such an event is likely to mislead women, not only when they hesitate, but also when they experience this type of suffering long after an abortion.”

Should the minister fail to respond favorably to this request, Alliance Vita claims the right to dispute the matter before an administrative tribunal.

(Sources: cath.ch – Le Monde – VA – Le Figaro – Francetvinfo – Alliance Vita – DICI no 347, 23/12/16)