The French National Assembly has voted to approve a bill that would outlaw some pro-life websites.

The Socialist government wants to criminalise sites which it says “exert psychological or moral pressure” on women not to abort. The proposed offence would be punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment and a €30,000 fine.

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

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

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

The bill will now need to pass through the French senate, which blocked the legislation earlier this year.

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