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France bans pro-life websites that do not ‘openly state’ they are pro-life

The National Assembly passed the law with a show of hands (Getty/Philippe Lopez)

A law has been passed in France banning pro-life websites which attempt to dissuade women from having abortions without making clear they are pro-life.

The law was passed by the National Assembly, which has a Socialist majority, on Thursday evening.

The new crime is punishable with two years in jail or a €30,000 fine.

Laurence Rossignol, the minister for women’s rights, said pro-life activists were still at liberty to voice their opposition to abortion, as long as it was “under the condition they openly state who they are, what they do and what they want,” according to AFP.

French law already prevents pro-lifers from demonstrating outside abortion clinics. Supporters of the new bill argue that pro-life tactics have moved online and must be stopped.

Archbishop Georges Pontier of Marseille, president of the French bishops’ conference, had written to President Francois Hollande expressing his concern about the bill.

Archbishop Pontier urged Mr Hollande not to allow the bill’s passage, calling it a “serious infringement of democratic principles”.

Tens of thousands took to the streets of Paris at the end of January to protest against the law.

Protesters held signs that said “Protecting the weak is truly strong” and were among more than 50,000 protesters according to organisers.