Old, frail, nearly blind: Dr. Xavier Dor is facing trial for counseling abortion-bound women
January 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The hearing in a lawuit against Doctor Xavier Dor, a pro-life activist who is under attack from the French Family Planning Association, the Hospitals of Paris and other abortion groups for exerting “moral and psychological pressure” in view of hindering a woman’s decision to abort, was adjourned this week to June 26th, much to the plaintiffs’ annoyance.
The reason for the adjournment was purely technical: a large number of affairs were on the roll of the 31st chamber of penal offenses of the Paris tribunal on Monday, and the judges decided speeches for the four plaintiffs and for the defense in the Dor case would take too long to hear.
Dozens of supporters on both sides, five lawyers, as well as three witnesses called by the plaintiffs found they had come for nothing. The adjournment does show, however, that the judges intend to give ample attention to one of the first cases of “moral and psychological pressure” to be pleaded in France.
At 12:30 p.m., several dozen pro-abortion activists answered the call of the Family Planning Association (which by the way does not provide abortions, only “reproductive health” counseling, including official referral for abortions and help to travel to countries where late-term abortions are available) and a number of feminist associations, political parties and workers’ unions to demonstrate a few hundred feet from the “Palais de justice”. They shouted slogans (“priests, rabbis and imams, keep off”, “abortion is our right”) and claimed “free abortion in Europe”.
A number of the women present probably managed to enter the “Palais de justice” without attracting police attention and thronged around the court chamber’s entrance. They chanted catcalls, insults and pro-abortion slogans as Dr. Dor, his counsel and his friends came out, telling them they would “go to hell” for opposing abortion.
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This is an unusual event in a French justice court and would normally lead to police intervention if not arrests. The police was indeed called in but they were content to observe the scene.
Humanly speaking the Family Planning Association is certainly overreacting. Dr Xavier Dor is a longtime defender of life who has already spent time in jail for entering abortion centers in French hospitals, but he is old, frail, and almost blind. He organizes peaceful, public (and legal) prayer meetings each month in front of clinics and hospitals where abortions are performed: these attract a few dozen people, no more. To call him a menace to abortion in a country where over 200,000 legal abortions take place each year, and at the precise moment when the new socialist government has published the decree ensuring that 100% of abortion costs will be borne by the State, is ironic.
So what has Xavier Dor been doing to attract a double lawsuit and all this public attention?
In 2011, he was part of a prayer group in front of a public hospital in Paris and distributed flyers showing images of an aborted child. The Public Hospitals of Paris (APHP) are accusing him of distributing “shocking pictures”. Last year in June, he went to the central office of the French Family Planning Association with one other person and requested a meeting with the director, with whom he spoke about the facts of abortion. He returned the next day, alone. A meeting was in progress: a number of employees and volunteers came out, insulted him and promptly “helped” him off the premises: an apartment on the first floor of an old building in the center of Paris. While going down the stairs Dr. Dor met a woman who was on her way to the Family Planning office. He gave her a pair of knitted baby shoes and a Miraculous Medal of the Virgin Mary.
There was no violence involved, nor trespassing on grounds where abortions are provided. But the woman, says Family Planning, was a pregnant Catholic woman with three children, who “could not keep” her fourth baby. She was deeply affected by Dr. Dor’s words and acts and the “fetus-size” bootees: she was in tears by the time she reached their offices.
In 2001, the revised abortion laws added “moral and psychological pressure” to the offenses quoted by the French penal code as constituting “hindrance to abortion” when exerted on a woman who is in the process of obtaining an abortion. “Hindrance to abortion” is punishable by a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and (or) a 200,000 euro fine.
The Family Planning Association is likely aiming to create a precedent for a wide application of this law which has been sparsely used up to date.