The French National Assembly has designated the act of providing pro-life information online, particularly about alternatives to abortion, as a "crime."
The legislation was approved by a 173-126 margin, which stated that the law prohibited anyone from "exercising, by any means, moral and psychological pressures, threats or any act of intimidation against people seeking information on a voluntarily termination of pregnancy."
Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice Grégor Puppinck said that the legislation has vague language, and that the "moral and psychological pressure" could be led to interpret pro-life messages as offensive.
"Publishing the Christian teaching that abortion is a crime could be seen as putting pressure on people," Puppinck said. "The simple sharing of information that might upset moral conscience could be sufficient to constitute a crime."
Laurence Rossignol, the Socialist government's minister for women's rights and families, said that pro-life websites disseminate false propaganda.
"Freedom of opinion is not the right to lie," she said referring to the websites, which pro-life groups allege are treated as frauds by government.
"These internet sites spread false allegations," she said in the National Assembly, adding that their counselors "are not professionals, but in fact anti-abortion activists hiding behind the anonymity these hotlines give them."
A pro-life website IVG.net, which suggests alternatives to abortion, said that the new bill violates the principles of democracy in France.
"Extending the offense of obstructing voluntary termination of pregnancy is contrary to several fundamental principles guaranteed by French and international law, in particular the principle of the legality of offenses and penalties and the right to freedom of expression. It is a dangerous...text," IVG said.