PARIS, France, September 17, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An octogenarian and veteran pro-life activist in France was fined 10,000 euro ($13,360 US) on Monday for having twice visited a Paris abortion clinic where he met with staff and attempted to counsel abortion-bound women. The conviction is one of the first cases pleaded under a French law that prohibits putting “moral and psychological pressure” designed to obstruct abortion.
The hefty fine is 2,000 euro more than had been demanded by the public prosecution. Since 2001, when the offense of “obstruction to abortion” was given a wider definition in law, the maximum fine for violating the statute has been raised to 30,000 euro, and two years imprisonment.
Dr Xavier Dor, 84, a retired pediatrician who is nearly blind, is also required to pay 2,000 euro damages for “moral harm” to a woman he met on the stairs leading to the French Family Planning Movement’s (MFPF) headquarters, from which he had just been removed by a number of workers and volunteers present for a meeting. He showed her a tiny pair of knitted baby shoes, gave her a Miraculous Medal of the Virgin Mary and told her: “I’m going to pray for you, the medal has been blessed.”
As the woman was a Catholic, the 31st criminal chamber of the Paris tribunal judged that the prayer had been “perturbing” to her, and followed her counsel’s claim that showing her baby shoes constituted “unheard of violence”.
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Several organizations, including the local and national Family Planning movements, obtained 1 euro in symbolic damages and 400 euro each for legal costs.
The sentence not only cites Dr. Dor’s conversation with the woman outside the Family Planning center, but his entrance into their offices, which are open to the public.
His first visit went peacefully: Xavier Dor was accompanied by one other person and he was able to meet with the director, with whom he spoke about the facts of abortion. The next day, June 26th 2012, he returned alone and was insulted and forcibly expelled by the group having a meeting there.
The text of the judgment will only be publicly available in two months, but it appears that the conviction has retained the MFPF’s accusation that Dr Dor “prevented” women in the center from obtaining information and necessary documents in view of an abortion and that he “intimidated” the center’s employees.
On the other hand, Dr. Dor was acquitted of charges relating to his participation in a legal demonstration in front of the Saint Vincent de Paul Hospital bearing pictures of aborted babies.
The heavy fine is another sign that the government and public authorities are intending to intensify their support for abortion. In a time of economic crisis and dire shortage of public funds, François Hollande’s socialist government recently announced that it will provide full reimbursement for the costs of abortion – a decision that was made effective on Easter Sunday of this year.
As well, a recent report ordered by Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, minister for Women’s rights, recommended the urgent creation of a public abortion information website, and suggested looking for ways to outlaw or at least to put pressure on abortion counseling websites and helplines that do not give clear information about where and how to obtain the procedure. It proposes to widen the scope of the law against “obstructing an abortion” to allow for prosecution against such websites and helplines.
After the hearing on Monday, Maya Surduts, secretary general of the National Coordination of Abortion and Contraception providers (CADAC), said she was satisfied by the conviction, adding she had not been asking for an old man like Dr. Dor to be sentenced to jail. But, she commented, the fine would probably be “useless” in view of his ongoing activism.
Together with the association SOS Tout-petits, of which he is founder and presider, Xavier Dor organizes monthly prayer meetings in front of clinics and public hospitals where abortions are performed and has no intention of stopping.
After Monday’s hearing, Dr. Dor addressed media, saying “RU-486 kills over 300 tiny babies per day in France. That’s a lot more than the lethal gases used in Syria. But no one is speaking about military intervention to make that stop.”
Officially, about 220,000 legal abortions take place in France each year and the numbers are growing, whilst contraceptive “coverage” is one of the highest in the world: only 3% of women of childbearing age who do not wish to become pregnant do not use a contraceptive method.