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Pierre Palmade in 2007Getty Images

PARIS (LifeSiteNews) — French comic actor Pierre Palmade, 54, is under investigation for manslaughter after the death of an unborn child in a serious car accident that occurred last Friday when his car left his side of a small road in the countryside south of Paris and rammed into a vehicle coming from the opposite direction.  

Palmade was driving under the influence of cocaine and other drugs, medical tests revealed. According to the local public prosecutor, Jean-Michel Bourlès, the actor had probably also used “chemsex” drugs prior to the accident. Reports following the accident alleged that the comedian had organized a 24-hour orgy in his home with four young men and that he took out his car to buy food in a nearby supermarket. 

While at first many people in France were shocked to hear that the comedian was fighting for his life in intensive care, their shock turned to anger upon learning the tragic and disturbing details of the crash, especially the death of a 6-month-old unborn child which was widely commented on in the French media. 

Two young men in their twenties and thirties who were in Palmade’s car at the time of the accident were seen running away from the scene. They have since been arrested and are being interrogated; one of them is a known drug-dealer. 

Four people, including Palmade, were badly hurt in the crash. A 38-year-old man and his 6-year-old son, who was badly disfigured, are still in intensive care at the time of writing, while the man’s sister-in-law, 27, who was six months pregnant with her first child, is out of danger. 

The woman was able to get out of the car just after the collision and was heard screaming repeatedly, “My child, my child!” Witnesses of the accident started to search the neighboring field, believing that she was looking for a child who had been ejected from the car. But it was the fate of her unborn baby that sent the poor young mother into a state of panic. 

She underwent a Caesarian section after the accident to save her baby, but sadly the little girl she was carrying died. The woman’s ordeal is not over: due to French laws and jurisprudence – which evolved under pressure from those who are afraid of infringing on abortion “rights” – her baby must undergo an autopsy to determine whether she was “viable” and breathed outside the womb. If this is not the case, and even if Palmade is judged and found penally responsible for the accident and convicted for dangerous driving under the influence of drugs, there will be no conviction for “involuntary homicide” because an unborn child has no legal status and obtains recognition of his or her personhood only when it can be demonstrated that he or she did not die while still in the womb. 

In fact, under French law it is impossible to determine what a “fetus” is, even though an unborn child can inherit like any other living human being. According to the courts’ interpretation of the criminal code, the fetus is not a person who can be considered a victim of a crime or negligence or involuntary homicide. He or she has no personal rights up to the moment of birth, and if he or she is killed or dies before birth because of another’s rashness, there can be no compensation for his or her mother and family, nor punishment for the perpetrator. 

Such interpretations have been handed down repeatedly by the Court of cassation, leaving those who mourn the death of an unborn child with a sense of injustice. One decision by a court of appeal in Bordeaux in 2014 went against the grain, convicting a man who had involuntarily caused the death of an unborn child in a car accident of manslaughter. That decision was final, but only because the man refused to invoke the aforementioned jurisprudence and also abstained from taking his case to the Court of cassation. He explained that he wanted the mother of the dead child to be able properly to mourn her child. 

Every time that a legislator in France has argued in favor of any kind of recognition of the unborn child as a human being, uproar has ensued from mainstream media and politicians because, they say, such dispositions would put abortion laws at risk. 

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And so, echoing the terrible crash last Friday, we have here a second collision of rights and legal rules where the death and damage related to a permissive society, as well as the culture of death that proclaims a woman’s “right” to kill the unborn child in her womb trump a mother’s suffering and her rights as a victim when she loses her baby, no less loved because she had not yet seen him or her face to face. 

In fact, the story is a sad allegory of societies where the life of the unborn simply does not count. 

In their race towards transgression—and often death—drug addicts and people with sexual obsessions harm the innocent. In the present case, an innocent unborn baby lost her life because of a grown man’s irresponsible actions. The tragedy of the case is only too visible: whatever his personal degree of responsibility, which the courts will assess, Palmade wanted sexual gratification at whatever price, and the consequence of his actions was the death of a baby and the maiming of a family who happened to cross his path. And society (the laws of the land) is clamoring that the little being that lost her life cannot, may not, be counted as a victim as long as she was unborn. 

But think of the violence undergone by the 220,000 and more unborn children who are killed by abortion every year in France. They too are victims, little beings without rights. And only too often, adults’ desire for physical gratification, without the corresponding acceptance of responsibility, without any limit beyond mutual consent, is what leads to an “undesired” pregnancy being “terminated.” The outcome is death, no less surely than when a driver loses control of his car and sends an unborn child to the grave (this is another paradox: under French law, a stillborn child at any stage of the pregnancy is entitled to burial if his or her parents so wish). But in the case of abortion, there is silence. 

Given Pierre Palmade’s celebrity and the horrible circumstances of the accident that killed a little unborn girl who, for once, did not remain unknown, this news story might be used to trigger reflection. It is already turning the spotlights on the evils of drug addiction, especially in show business, and on “chem sex” which specialists believe to be practised on a regular basis by up to 200,000 people in France. 

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Palmade has had a lengthy history of addiction to cocaine, which he has unsuccessfully tried to fight. He was also involved in a recent penal trial related to events in 2021 when a young male prostitute arrested for drug dealing was found in possession of a bank card belonging to the comedian. It was made clear during the trial that Palmade had entrusted his credit card to the dealer to buy sex toys and chem sex drugs. The latter are widely used among male homosexuals in France (up to 14 percent of this group according to official estimates), usually for group sex during lengthy orgies. The use of drugs to “enhance” sexual activity is often related to health problems with an increase in cardiovascular events and neuropathologies, as well as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, according to Professor Amine Benyamina who specializes in addiction research in one of the major Parisian hospitals. 

Benyamina stressed the link between road accidents as well as inflicted or suffered violence and the use of chem sex “cocktails” that can lead to sex addiction. Psychiatrist Pierre Sidon, answering questions during a chat show on the right-wing CNews television station, stated that the “life expectancy of these people who start injecting themselves during sex acts is brief; no more than a few years.” 

Meanwhile, Palmade’s sister, who was able to visit him in hospital has told the press that her brother is “devastated, he’s ashamed.” She added: 

The thought of having destroyed this family’s life is devastating to him. He is praying, and we’re praying with him, that [the victims] will come out of this with as little damage as possible. He’s praying. He really is praying. He is thinking only of them. He will face all the consequences of his actions with the terrible knowledge that he can never undo the harm he has done. As futile as it may seem, Pierre asks for their forgiveness from the depths of his soul.” 

There is no crime so great that, once regretted and confessed, God cannot forgive it. It is the hope that remains in the midst of our “culture of death.” 

The mother of the unborn child who died has already declared through her lawyer that she and her family were at present “unmoved” by the remorse expressed by Pierre Palmade, and that their hope is that the comedian will face justice without any form of preferential treatment because of his fame. Indeed, divine mercy does not cancel human justice, and the need for it. 

But may God have mercy too on our societies that collectively disregard the lives of the unborn. 

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Jeanne Smits has worked as a journalist in France since 1987 after obtaining a Master of Arts in Law. She formerly directed the French daily Présent and was editor-in-chief of an all-internet French-speaking news site called She writes regularly for a number of Catholic journals (Monde & vie, L’Homme nouveau, Reconquête…) and runs a personal pro-life blog. In addition, she is often invited to radio and TV shows on alternative media. She is vice-president of the Christian and French defense association “AGRIF.” She is the French translator of The Dictator Pope by Henry Sire and Christus Vincit by Bishop Schneider, and recently contributed to the Bref examen critique de la communion dans la main about Communion in the hand. She is married and has three children, and lives near Paris.