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FRANCE

1,000 join French anti-abortion protest

An anti-abortion demonstrator grapples with a Femen counter-protester, who's T-shirt calls for assisted reproduction for all, on Sunday's march
An anti-abortion demonstrator grapples with a Femen counter-protester, who's T-shirt calls for assisted reproduction for all, on Sunday's march AFP

About 1,000 people marched against abortion, assisted reproduction and euthanasia in Paris on Sunday as the French government prepares to revise the country's bioethics law.

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"Medically assisted reproduction will be at the heart of political life in 2018," protest spokeswoman Victoire de Gubernbatis told the media as over 1,000 people joined the 12th "March for Life" on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Organised by right-wing Catholic groups, the demonstration also targeted abortion and euthanasia.

As the government prepares a consultation on the 2011 bioethics law that could see assisted reproduction permitted for lesbian couples and single women, the protesters called for it to be made stricter.

But turnout was much lower than last year, when tens of thousands marched as the country prepared for the presidential poll that saw Emmanuel Macron elected.

There are slightly more than 200,000 abortions every year in France, a figure that has remained more or less stable since 2006.

A small group of counterdemonstrators from the Femen feminist group heckled the march with calls for "Abortion for all" and "Christian charity for lesbians".

Although no well-known French politicians attended, Polish MEP Marek Jurek addressed the protest on efforts by the hard right in his country to roll back its already limited abortion rights.

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