France will be the first country to include abortion in

France will be the first country to include abortion in its constitution

Unlike many countries where abortion rights are declining, France will on Monday become the first country to explicitly include voluntary abortion in its constitution, an issue that is unanimous among public opinion and now among the political class .

The deputies and senators ceremoniously gathered in Congress in a wing of the Palace of Versailles should approve by a very large majority the constitutional amendment proposed by the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

Four days before March 8, International Women's Rights Day, this reform introduces the following sentence in Article 34 of the basic text: “The law establishes the conditions under which the freedom guaranteed to women to resort to voluntary abortion, is exercised.” .

A three-fifths majority of the votes cast is required to approve this change. This should be achieved without difficulty after the massive votes of the Assembly (493 votes to 30) and the Senate (267 votes to 50).

The senators' vote Wednesday that removed the final obstacle to constitutionalization surprised even the most ardent advocates of inclusion in its magnitude.

“The Senate has written a new page in women's rights,” praised Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti, affirming that France would be “the first country in the world” to adopt such an approach.

According to Leah Hoctor of the Center for Reproductive Rights, an American organization that defends abortion rights, it is in fact “the first constitutional provision that is so explicit and comprehensive on this issue, not only in Europe but worldwide.” .

A tireless advocate of this constitutionalization, Family Planning welcomed in advance the “message of hope” that Congress will send “to feminists around the world.” “In France and around the world, the right to abortion is still under serious threat,” the association emphasized in a press release.

“Culture Clash”

This was spectacularly demonstrated with the overturning of Roe v. in the United States in June 2022. Wade, who protected access to abortion at the federal level. Since then, many states have severely restricted or even banned abortion on their territory, while thousands of Americans are forced to endure painful and expensive journeys to obtain an abortion.

This decision across the Atlantic had the effect of an electric shock on French public opinion and elected officials.

In November 2022, the assembly largely approved, with majority support, a draft constitution put forward by the radical left-wing LFI party that guarantees the right to abortion.

The Senate, which is more conservative and dominated by the right and the center, took turns addressing the issue and voted in February 2023 with a narrow majority (166 votes to 152) to include “freedom” of abortion for women in the constitution.

The following month, during a nationwide tribute to feminist lawyer Gisèle Halimi, Emmanuel Macron announced his desire to include “freedom” to abortion in the constitution.

The draft constitution was finally presented on December 12th. The proposal to include the “guaranteed freedom” of women to have abortions, a compromise formulation, was approved in both chambers, contrary to the opinion of Senate President LR (right) Gérard Larcher.

The majority estimated that “mobilization of civil society” and “popular pressure” – polls showed over 80% support for constitutionalization – had contributed to the massive adoption of the text.

Since the Senate gave the green light, only a few hostile voices have been heard. The Bishops' Conference of France expressed its “sadness” while on the far right the leader of the list of Reconquête! Marion Maréchal, addressing the Europeans, scoffed at a “legal device” designed to “pleasing a small politicized minority.” Abortion opponents announced a mobilization in Versailles on Monday afternoon.

In France, “we have won the culture war” on the issue of abortion, welcomed the environmentally conscious Senator (Opposition) Mélanie Vogel.

Voluntary abortion (IVG) was legalized in France in 1975 through the veil law, four years after a shock appeal in which 343 women, including actresses Jeanne Moreau and Catherine Deneuve and writers Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras and Françoise Sagan, revealed that she had an abortion.