France fights anti-abortion ‘lies’ online

France fights anti-abortion 'lies' online
"The spread of false information about abortions is an attack on a woman's freedom of choice." France launches website to fight anti-abortion "lies" online. Photo: Luca Venturini
The French government is set to launch an official website this weekend aimed at countering a rise in “lying and biased” anti-abortion information circulating online in France, it was announced on Friday.

Scheduled to coincide with the Global Day of Action For Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, France’s Socialist government will on Saturday launch a new, official website containing information about abortion, it was announced on Friday.

The website, www.ivg.gouv.fr, will position itself in favour of a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, as part of an effort to counterbalance a recent increase in “lying and biased” websites which oppose abortion rights, but disingenuously pose as neutral on the issue, according to a joint statement by the ministries of Health and Women’s Rights.

“The spread of information that is often fraudulent and makes women feel guilty, including many heavily-trafficked websites, constitutes an attack on women’s freedom of choice,” said the statement.

The new government website will “give every woman the information she needs to clarify her choice, taking into account French law,” and will include links to partner sites who can, among other functions, help them locate places where they can have an abortion.

The information campaign comes on the back of a report handed to Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem earlier this month, which warned against the prevalence of “fallacious” anti-abortion websites in online search results.

Abortion, known in France as IVG, or "interruption volontaire de grossesse" (voluntary termination of pregnancy) is available on request in France up to the 12th week of a pregnancy.

It was legalised in 1975, enjoys widespread support across the political spectrum, and has been covered under the country’s national health insurance scheme since April .

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