American pro-life activists should be grateful that we live in a country whose laws vigorously protect our right to freedom of speech. There are plenty of other nations — nominally free and democratic ones, even — that offer no such buffer from state censorship.
Such is the case in France, a country that recently adopted two measures innately hostile to pro-life advocacy. Last month a French court upheld a ban on a video that advocated on behalf of children with Down syndrome. The court declared that the work might “disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices.” In France, in other words, it is illegal to promote a video for disabled children because it might offend some women who killed their disabled children in utero.
Not to be outdone by the judicial system, the lower house of the French parliament recently adopted a measure that would forbid French websites to exert “psychological or moral pressure to discourage recourse to abortion.” The bill now goes to the senate. The evident purpose of the proposed law is to ban most French pro-life advocacy from the Internet. In the eyes of the French government, any effective pro-life message delivered over the Internet is now a criminal act.
The French government had already taken pains to ensure that pro-life activism was tightly controlled. It was already illegal for activists to “obstruct” the operation of an abortion clinic by exerting “moral and psychological pressures” on women who might be considering an abortion. Apparently that was not enough. The proscription has now been expanded to outlaw “digital interference.”
On the one hand, this is astonishing. A country in Western Europe is openly criminalizing political activism and engagement. But that it is happening makes sense when you consider both the reality of abortion and the politics surrounding it.
After all, what does abortion do? It kills — specifically, human beings, with premeditation. There is no debating this, certainly not in the context of biological fact. The unborn are human beings, no matter what the crackpot pseudo-science of the pro-choice movement might say.
If you’re in favor of abortion rights, then, you may feel the need to cover up that unpleasant and ultimately horrifying reality. Civilized people do not, as a rule, advocate the killing of innocent human beings. And so we have the curious euphemisms of the pro-choice movement, which function much as perfume did in 18th-century France, by covering up the stink. Thus the label “pro-choice,” the slogan “a woman’s right to choose,” the expression “terminate a pregnancy,” the viciously ignorant and deceptive term “clump of cells”— all of these locutions are meant to conceal what abortion is.
The pro-choice movement already rests on the premise that the strong rule over, and may ultimately dispose of as they see fit, the weak. Still, it is still rather astonishing to see the rank cowardice to which pro-choice liberals will descend. They do not want the pro-life movement to have even the chance to argue. We Americans would do well to recognize that the craven, petty tyranny demonstrated by the French government could, but for the First Amendment, easily manifest itself in U.S. law. Do not forget that our own pro-abortion-rights progressives spent last summer denying, in the face of ample and credible evidence, that Planned Parenthood engaged in an enormous dead-baby-body-part profiteering scheme with a medical research company. Remember as well that our media are perfectly happy to look the other way when it comes to human butchery and mass murder in the form of abortion.
Telling the truth about abortion is often a fraught affair, and sometimes dangerous.
We have always had among us apologists and justifiers of gross violations of human rights: the pro-Soviet liberals who glossed over Stalin’s atrocities, the intellectual white supremacists who justified slavery on the grounds of pseud-scientific eugenics, the halfwit American champions of the brutal Castro regime. The difference between those outrages and abortion, however, is obvious. Whereas we have Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Armando Valladares, Frederick Douglass, and many others to tell us of the horrors of slavery and tyranny, there is no similar body of work composed by the unborn. Only a scattered few abortion survivors exist to stand as firsthand witnesses to the inhumanity of the procedure. When a sneering abortion apologist claims that unborn human beings are merely “clumps of cells,” the unborn cannot answer back. They have no voice. They rely on us. We are their only hope.
What is necessary, then, for the pro-life French, and for the rest of us, is always to tell the truth about abortion: to never stop explaining what abortion is and what it does. Because abortion is unpleasant and inconvenient, there will always be plenty of people trying to stop us from telling the truth about it: the people who wish to criminalize simple pro-life advocacy, or the cowards who try to& prevent us from peacefully preventing abortions, or the psychopaths who assault non-violent pro-life demonstrators. But we must not stop. Telling the truth about abortion is often a fraught affair, and sometimes dangerous; sometimes it carries a risk, as it already does in France. Yet the work is necessary, because the lives of the innocent are precious and valuable, and worth fighting for.