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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