France Punishes Pro-Life Websites for False Advertising

The battle over whether pro-life groups are deceiving women is also being fought in the United States.

A California law upheld in October requires pregnancy centers to notify clients of the existence of publicly-funded services like contraception and abortion. Unlicensed centers must also notify clients that their staff is unlicensed. Meanwhile, in Boston, a federal court ruled that Baltimore’s requirement that pregnancy centers post disclaimers that they don’t make referrals for abortion or birth control is unconstitutional.

 

The French government introduced plans this fall to create a “digital trading hindrance” to pregnancy websites that don’t clearly identify their pro-life view.

“Being hostile to abortion is an opinion protected by the civil liberties in France,” said Laurence Rossignol, minister for families, children, and women’s rights. “But creating websites that appear official but actually give biased information designed to deter, to blame, or to assign trauma is not acceptable.”

Pro-life websites can continue to exist, but they should not be able to “deliberately deceiv[e] users by posing as official or neutral sites,” the French government stated.

One site the government is targeting is the popular ivg.net, which says that abortion “involves risks that can appear quickly or over time.” The site, which is named similarly to the government’s official site, also includes testimonies from women who regret their abortions, information on social services for mothers, and a hotline to call to talk to someone who will “help you see all the possible solutions.”

“The site provides help for women who suffer from an abortion, who finally find a place here to express their pain—ideologically denied in our country,” spokesperson Marie Philippe told EWTN, a major Catholic broadcaster. Calling the legislation a “media ideology assault,” Philippe said that the site doesn’t “force women to choose one way or another, but simply allows them to make a free and informed decision.”

The battle over whether pro-life groups are deceiving women is also being fought in the United States.

A California law upheld in October requires pregnancy centers to notify clients of the existence of publicly-funded services like contraception and abortion. Unlicensed centers must also notify clients that their staff is unlicensed.

Meanwhile, in Boston, a federal court ruled that Baltimore’s requirement that pregnancy centers post disclaimers that they don’t make referrals for abortion or birth control is unconstitutional.

“There is no evidence that women were coming to the center under false pretenses and suffering harmful health consequences because of it,” the court found.

Read More