On January 24, the French Joint Parliamentary Committee’s failure to reach an agreement, demonstrates just how controversial the new legislation on numerical obstruction to abortion is. The text will thus be debated again at the National Assembly on January 26.

This bill intends to criminalize internet sites providing listening services and information on abortion that differ with the government’s official approach. This ideological posture is contested both by the Left and the Right, because it seriously violates citizens’ freedom of speech and attacks women’s rights to be informed. In fact, the issue of objective information is truly at stake, but also that of preventing pressure on women to abort.

The government’s fast-track schedule

The government, which originated the bill, is trying to ram it through in order to cast votes before the Parliamentary session ends in February, due to Presidential elections.

The first reading at the National Assembly was held on December 1 then in the Senate on December 7: an unusually short time lapse. The two assemblies voted on different texts (refer to our Decoder for a detailed analysis of the contents and its implications), and the Joint Committee who met yesterday was unable to agree on a common text.

The next steps

In the new reading scheduled for tomorrow, the majority of the MP’s will most likely try to go back to their initial version, which is also the one initially promoted by the government.

If the Senators maintain their position, a new reading is planned for February, with the government aiming to have the last vote by the National Assembly before the end of February, thus before the Parliament ends its term.

In this event, the Constitutional Council will undoubtedly be called upon, since the fundamental principle for freedom of speech is attacked, as well as the confusion in the new bill, which appears to be unconstitutional.