Rent-a-bike users in the French capital found large anti-abortion stickers plastered on their bicycles on Thursday, sparking an outcry from the government.
“What if you had let it live?” read the adhesive labels designed specifically to fit Paris bike mudguards.
The glued posters featured a drawing of a human foetus growing in a womb, then a crawling baby and finally a child waving on a bicycle.
A group called “The Survivors”, which described itself as “youth revolted by the suffering… provoked by abortions“, said it had planned the action.
City authorities said a “significant number” of bikes for hire under city rental scheme Velib had been targeted in the unsanctioned anti-abortion campaign.
“Disgusting and unacceptable,” Transport Minister Clement Beaune wrote on Twitter.
Minister for Gender Equality Isabelle Rome was also appalled.
“Abortion is a fundamental right for women. We will not let anyone violate it,” she said.
Health Minister Francois Braun described the sticker campaign as “shameful”.
“The government… will always be on the side of women to guarantee their right to choose,” he said.
Abortions were de-criminalised in France in 1975.
Successive laws in France have sought to make abortions safe, anonymous and free of charge.
But pro-choice associations say women wanting to abort still often face prejudice and hostility.
After the US Supreme Court overturned the right to abortion last year, President Emmanuel Macron in March said his government would put forward a draft law to enshrine abortion rights in the French constitution.
But it has not yet presented such a bill.
France recorded 220,000 abortions nationwide in 2020, according to national statistics institute INSEE.