(CNS News) (Update: The French National Assembly on Thursday adopted the controversial bill, with the support of leftists and a majority of centrists, while right wing lawmakers opposed it. The measure now goes to the Senate. Family Minister Laurence Rossignol argued during the debate that “freedom of expression should not be confused with manipulating minds.”)

French lawmakers on Thursday will debate and vote on a Socialist government-backed draft law that could criminalize online pro-life advocacy. The legislation would extend the ambit of already-illegal “interference” in abortion to cover digital media.

Any website carrying material that is deemed to be “deliberately misleading, intimidating and/or exerting psychological or moral pressure” aimed at persuading a mother not to abort her child could face criminal charges, with punishments of two years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros ($31,800).

A Catholic archbishop has called the move “a very serious attack on the principles of democracy.”

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