France to sanction ‘misleading’ anti-abortion websites

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France to sanction ‘misleading’ anti-abortion websites
The new law extends existing punishments for interfering with abortion to the internet, and offers a counterpoint to Trump.

By Natalie Huet
2/16/17

French lawmakers Thursday passed a new law sanctioning websites that aim to dissuade women from terminating a pregnancy by using “misleading claims” on abortion.

In its own controversial way, the Socialist government is offering a counterpoint to Donald Trump’s move to reinstate the U.S.’s global gag rule. A Dutch-led funding initiative to support family planning worldwide has also been gaining traction.

Continued at source: Politico: http://www.politico.eu/article/france-to-sanction-misleading-anti-abortion-websites/

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France Bans Anti-Abortion Websites that Spread False Health Information

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by Sirin Kale
Dec 9 2016, Broadly

Lawmakers in the European country have just passed a bill criminalizing anti-abortion sites that lie about the medical procedure. But is it the answer?

It's been a year of misinformation and bullshit, propaganda and lies—and I'm just talking mainstream Western politics. If you believe we're living in a post-truth age, where conjecture passes for fact and supposition for orthodoxy, you're probably right—but there's a caveat. Anti-abortion activists will say pretty much anything to deny women their reproductive rights, and they always have done. After all, every day is a post-truth day in an anti-abortion activist's world.

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Source: Broadly

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French government moves to ban misleading anti-abortion websites

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by Safe Abortion, Dec 9

The French National Assembly has passed a law outlawing the promotion of false and misleading information about abortion on the internet, which will now go to the Senate. The text of the provision is one sentence:

“Lutte contre les pratiques de désinformation, notamment sur Internet, induisant intentionnellement en erreur ou exerçant une pression psychologique sur les femmes et leur entourage en matière d’IVG.”

(Opposition to the practice of disinformation, in particular on the Internet, of intentionally promoting errors, or intentionally putting psychological pressure on women and those close to them in the matter of abortion.)

The law would punish offenders with up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine.

Of course, the anti-abortion movement in France is upset about it and complaining about limiting their so-called freedom of speech. But what is unclear is why they feel a need to promote false and misleading information and intimidate women in the first place. It is actually possible to be anti-abortion without using false information in your messaging, let alone trying to tell women how to live their lives.

But they haven’t stopped women having abortions, and perhaps that is why they have begun telling women lies. However, when lies can hurt people, the state has a responsibility to intervene. Companies are not permitted to lie about the contents or purpose or safety of products or medicines. So why does the anti-abortion movement think there is nothing wrong with lying to women, and by implication think there is nothing wrong with adversely affecting women’s lives?

A report in the Guardian describes the websites concerned as masquerading as neutral, appearing to offer officially approved services with a freephone helpline number but actually promoting anti-abortion propaganda and pressuring women who contact them not to terminate pregnancies. Another media source talks about the websites intimidating women seeking information about abortion services.

The president of the French Conference of Bishops has written to Prime Minister Hollande asking him to intervene to stop passage of the law and the Archbishop of Marseille has called it a violation of the principles of democracy. So do they defend telling women lies too?

“Freedom of expression should not be confused with manipulating minds,” Socialist Minister for Women’s Rights Laurence Rossignol said, as the debate kicked off last week.

François Fillon, recently chosen to stand for election next year as a candidate for a right-wing party, was accused on Europe 1 by Alain Juppé, who was running against him, of changing his stance on abortion from support for abortion as a fundamental right (stated in a book he wrote), to saying he had made a mistake and now did not approve of abortion. He also said, however, that he will not try to overturn the landmark 1975 law legalising the practice. Unfortunately, there are not as yet laws against changing your views for political advantage.

SOURCES: Le Monde, by Cécile Chambraud, 29 November 2016 ; The Guardian, by Angelique Chrisafis, 1 December 2016 ; France24, 7 December 2016 ; PHOTO

Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

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French lawmakers ban websites that spread ‘false information’ on abortion

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2016-12-07, France24.com

French Senators on Thursday passed a bill to ban pro-life websites from spreading "false information" about abortion, following a heated debate with rightwing lawmakers who argued it would contravene freedom of expression.

The debate comes less than five months before France elects a new president, with the rightwing Les Républicains party candidate François Fillon, a staunch Catholic, tipped to win.

Fillon has said he is "personally" opposed to abortion, but that he will not try to overturn a landmark 1975 law legalising the practice.

The bill passed by senators on Wednesday will extend to the internet a 1993 law criminalising "interference" in abortions in the form of "false information".

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Source: France24.com

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France moves to ban misleading anti-abortion websites

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Supporters say the law would stop the spread of ‘misinformation,’ but opponents say it violates free speech
by Amar Toor@amartoo Dec 2, 2016, 6:55am EST

The French National Assembly this week moved to criminalize websites that spread “misinformation” about abortions and spread pro-life propaganda. The law, approved on Thursday, would punish offenders with up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine. It will now move on to the Senate, The Guardian reports.

Supporters say the bill would target sites that masquerade as neutral sources of information on abortion, but are in fact operated by advocacy groups that seek to manipulate and pressure women into not terminating pregnancies. The proposal has drawn criticism from right-wing politicians and Catholic organizations, who say it infringes on free speech.

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Source: The Verge

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French MPs vote to ban abortion websites that intimidate women

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Government seeking to criminalise sites that pose as neutral sources of information but promote anti-abortion propaganda

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

Thursday 1 December 2016, The Guardian

The French National Assembly has approved a plan to outlaw abortion information websites that masquerade as neutral, official services with freephone helpline numbers but promote anti-abortion propaganda and pressure women not to terminate pregnancies.

The Socialist government’s proposal seeks to criminalise any websites that deliberately mislead, intimidate or “exert psychological or moral pressure” on a woman seeking information about terminating a pregnancy, with punishment of up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine.

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Source: The Guardian

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Rivals trade blows over Pope and abortion as gloves off in French Right presidential primary battle

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Henry Samuel, Paris, The Telegraph

22 November 2016 • 1:51pm

The Pope and abortion were on Tuesday at the heart of France’s Right-wing primary battle after both finalists claimed they were closer to the Pontiff in a tussle for the key French Catholic vote.

The gloves are off between French prime ministers François Fillon and Alain Juppé in the race to lead their Republicans party in presidential elections next year, with a run-off vote on Sunday.

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Source: The Telegraph

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France: Making it an offence to knowingly provide false information about abortion

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October 7, 2016, by Safe Abortion

During the last week of September 2016, the French Minister for Families, Childhood and Women’s Rights Laurence Rossignol tabled a regulation as part of a bill on equality and citizenship in the French Senate that aimed to make it an offence for websites to convey “false allegations or give a distorted presentation of information on the nature and consequences of an abortion, in order to mislead with a deterrent purpose” (un amendement pour élargir le délit d’entrave à l’IVG à l’expression numérique. Il prévoirait d’introduire un délit contre les sites qui véhiculent «des allégations ou une présentation faussées, pour induire en erreur dans un but dissuasif sur la nature et les conséquences d’une IVG»).

The amendment was not approved, but it raises bigger questions about the ethics of what has become a widespread practice by many in the anti-abortion movement, not just on websites but also in the street when who women are entering/leaving an abortion clinic are accosted by anti-abortion hecklers and also when they visit what are sometimes called crisis pregnancy centres looking for help to have an abortion.

This week, on 6 October in the UK, the TV Channel 4 programme Dispatches sent women posing as abortion seekers to visit a clinic in order to encounter anti-abortion activists in the street outside the clinic, filmed the exchanges and later interviewed one of them. An article in the Mail on Sunday, in anticipation of the TV programme, reports that an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centre tells women that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. Others claim that abortion causes depression and failure to bond with future children, all false claims based on false evidence.

In the USA, a study by NARAL Pro-Choice America found that there were more crisis pregnancy centres than abortion clinics in the country in 2013.

A report published in 2014 by Education for Choice in the UK on this subject is based on extensive research on this behaviour.

SOURCES: Liberation + Photo Stéphane de Sakutin, AFP, 29 September 2016 + Le Figaro, 27 September 2016

+ Channel 4 Dispatches, Under Cover: Britain’s Abortion Extremists, 6 October 2016 + Mail on Sunday, by Nick Craven, 1 October 2016 + Huffington Post, 19 March 2015

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

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