Extension of the offense of obstruction at the VTP (vulontary termination of pregnancy) law was promulgated on 16 February 2017 in the National Assembly and then referred by more than 60 senators and deputies to the Constitutional Council in order to challenge the constitutionality of the ” Extension of the offense of obstruction with the VTP (vulontary termination of pregnancy) law provided for in Article L.2223-2 of the Public Health Code.
Since the law of 27 January 1993, the offense of obstruction, provided for in Article L.2223-2 of the Public Health Code, was never challenged. At the time of enactment of the laws authorizing abortion in the period 1975-1995, there was a “phenomen of public consciousness objection”. Hundreds of pro-life activists (mostly conscientious objectors and priests) joined the maternity wards with banners from the Auschwitz genocide (referring to “deadly” patients), heavy slogans Guilt, distorted and enlarged images of fetuses over 6 months. A study carried out by the Council of the French Bar Association documented the reports filed between 1975 and 1995 by hundreds of patients, victims of sputum, insults, assaults and hurts after leaving post-abortion hospitals. This study demonstrated the physical and moral consequences of hindering women’s health. Hundreds of complaints were lodged every week for harassment, illegal occupation of premises or degradation of equipment in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. But no legislation existed since the legalization of abortion in 1975 against the offense of obstruction until 1995 in Europe, against the hindrance to abortion.
Source (only in french) : http://www.conseil-constitutionnel.fr/conseil-constitutionnel/francais/les-decisions/acces-par-date/decisions-depuis-1959/2017/2017-747-dc/decision-n-2017-747-dc-du-16-mars-2017.148788.html (Loi n°2017-347 du 20 mars 2017 relative à l’extension du délit d’entrave à l’IVG, JORF n°0068 du 21 mars 2017, texte n° 2).
In France, in 1975, after the Veil law, three-quarters of heads of gynecology refused to organize abortions in their departments. In 1979, it was impossible to undergo abortion in 16 departments, the heads of service systematically resorting to the conscience clause. In 1994, the Pontifical Academy for Life was created by the Vatican and Opus Dei; The International Catholic Organization actively supported the Pro-Life movements and let them live in Europe, in order to enjoin doctors to use the conscience clause to refuse to treat patients in request for an abortion. Through these impediments, patients could not access care services because of intimidation. The World Health Organization denounced the systematization of conscientious objection among health professionals, as well as measures aimed at hampering the public service of free and safe VTP care. The enactment of the statutory provision creating the “offense of obstruction” made it possible to stop the aggressions of the patients and the medical .
The Constitutional Council, in its decision n ° 2017-747 DC of 16 March 2017, confirms the law of extending the offense of obstructing fraudulent Internet sites, in particular by disseminating “allegations or indications of a nature Intentionally misleading, for the purpose of deterrence “. However, the Constitutional Council, seized by opposition parliamentarians, considers that “except to disregard freedom of expression, the mere dissemination of information to an undetermined public” can not in itself constitute a crime obstruction. The content of the sites can not be pursued. For the offense to be constituted, the woman must have been intentionally deceived (harassment by SMS, false information). The Constitutional Council submits sanctions for infringements of freedom of expression and communication to a triple condition of necessity, adaptation and proportion to the objective pursued. This case-law thus adopts the same special protection as that envisaged by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in respect of freedom of expression relating to abortion, pro-choice (Case of Women on waves and others C / Portugal in 2009); Or viewpoints unfavorable to abortion (Annen v. Germany case in 2015).
This law protects the decision-making freedom of women seeking an abortion by sanctioning the hindrance of the principle of autonomy, now extend to internet.
Source (only in french) : Report of WHO « Difficulté d’accès à l’IVG en Europe – Tendances de la mortalité maternelle sur la période 1990-2008 – Estimations établies par l’OMS, l’UNICEF, l’UNFPA et la Banque mondiale » 2015, ISBN: 978 92 4 1500265, p. 20-48, http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/9789241500265/fr/.
Publication (only in french) : Legal journal RGDM, n ° 67, Ethics and the Law of Living, France, July. 2017.