Culture & Ethics Icon Culture & Ethics
Free Speech Icon Free Speech

Currently Turned Against Pro-Lifers, French Totalitarian Impulse Can Easily Jump Oceans

David Klinghoffer

eiffel-tower-336557_960_720.jpg

Years ago when I was younger and more strident, I had a dinner conversation with a woman friend who, I realized too late, I didn’t know quite as well as I thought. I should have understood that abortion isn’t something to discuss like any other casual meal topic. I was stating a pro-life view when she suddenly put down her fork and left the restaurant. I found her crying outside and that was the end of the evening.

Was it asinine of me not to grasp that a woman, any woman, might have a painful personal history relevant to the subject that I as a man could not have? Yes. There’s a time and a place for everything, and there are more or less sensitive ways to talk about abortion and human life. Lucky for me, though, this was New York City in the 1990s and not France in 2016.

On the heels of censoring a TV ad meant to discourage women from aborting Down syndrome children, the French Senate and National Assembly have gone further and voted to criminalize online pro-life activism. For applying “moral and psychological pressure,” making women feel guilty, no matter how sensitive you are in applying this moral pressure, you could face prison and fines!

Alexandra DeSanctis reports at National Review:

The French Senate today adopted a bill criminalizing the posting of pro-life information online, a measure that was passed by the French National Assembly just last week. Violators face a maximum of two years in prison and over $30,000 in fines. The measure makes it a crime for pro-life individuals or activists to obstruct a woman’s lawful decision to have an abortion, or to cause her guilt after the fact.

[T]he bill defines obstruction not only as the physical effort to block an abortion clinic, for example, but also “psychological obstacles…”

[M]any analysts agree that the bill will be interpreted to criminalize any person or website that posts information regarding alternatives to abortion, or even that espouses the Christian belief that the church considers abortion to be immoral. [Emphasis added.]

On the radio, Dennis Prager makes the important point that we wrongly see liberalism and leftism as being on some kind of continuum. Not so. The world could benefit from more genuine liberals. Leftism, on the other hand, is distinguished by its totalitarianism. In this case, the totalitarianism is wedded to scientism, the belief that science unmoored from other sources of values should reign supreme, including in defining which opinions may or may not be lawfully expressed.

This is scary, not because we live in France but because ideas like this are contagious and easily cross oceans. Do you doubt for a minute that some of our homegrown true believers that science has all the answers would love to hold the law more firmly in their grasp to wield against skeptics like us?

Image credit: Unsplash via Pixabay.