Abortion a Constitutional Right in France!
The Macronist deputy for the Latin American and Caribbean constituency, Éléonore Caroit, in an interview with EFE after the approval of the inclusion of the right to abortion in the constitution. March 4, 2024. EFE/ Edgar Sapiña Manchado

Abortion a Constitutional Right in France!


Versailles, France, Mar 4 (EFE).- By Rafael Cañas

France experienced a “historic” day on Monday with the inclusion of abortion rights in its Constitution, becoming the first country in the world to do so.

“Historic,” “victory” and “pride” were some of the adjectives used by the majority of political leaders during the extraordinary session of the Parliamentary Congress, which brought together the National Assembly and the Senate at the Palace of Versailles to formally approve the constitutional reform.

Lawmakers in both houses of the French parliament voted 780 in favor and only 72 against, well above the three-fifths majority needed to pass the first constitutional amendment since 2008.

The approved amendment includes a clause in Article 34, stating that the French Constitution will require parliament to define the conditions under which the freedom to choose to terminate a pregnancy is exercised.

Article 34 establishes the Parliament’s duty to determine rules in various areas including civil rights, criminal justice systems and electoral laws.

The approved change in said article includes the text: “the law shall determine the manner in which the guaranteed freedom of women to have recourse to voluntary termination of pregnancy is recognized”.

“Your body belongs to you and no one can decide for you,” said Prime Minister Gabriel Attal in the opening speech of the session.

Emmanuel Macron reacted through the social network X, expressing “French pride” and the “universal message” sent by the country.

He also announced that he would enact the law for the first time on Friday, coinciding with International Women’s Rights Day, in a public ceremony in front of the Ministry of Justice.

Macron decided to launch the constitutional reform after the US Supreme Court repealed federal recognition of abortion rights provided by Roe v. wade in June 2022, leaving its authorization in the hands of each state.

Many of the interventions on Monday pointed to that judicial ruling, as well as other abortion restrictions already approved or in progress, in other countires such as Poland, Hungary, or Argentina, as a reminder that rights can be lost.

“The risk of regression exists,” highlighted left-wing deputy Elsa Faucillon.

Meanwhile, far-right leader Marine Le Pen pointed out to the law being a propaganda move by President Emmanuel Macron..

“We are going to vote for this constitutionalization because it does not pose any problem for us, but to speak of a historic day? No. It is a day instrumentalized by Emmanuel Macron for his glory,” said Marine Le Pen.

The Congress meeting and the vote, the first for a constitutional reform in almost 16 years, were filled with symbolic elements.

It was the first presided over by a woman, the President of the Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet, and took place almost fifty years after the approval of the abortion law, named after the then Minister of Health, Simone Veil.

The Prime Minister arrived in Versailles accompanied by Veil’s son Jean, who attended the meeting as a guest and was applauded during a tribute to his mother, a political figure, who survived Auschwitz, served as a minister several times, and eventually became President of the European Parliament.

The debate and vote in Versailles were streamed by a giant screen installed in the Trocadero square, in front of the Eiffel Tower, which illuminated the Parisian night with the words “mon corps, mon choix” (“my body, my choice”).

At the end of the session, a group of women from feminist organizations who were in the guest gallery sang “Debout les femmes,” a feminist anthem from the 1970s.

The guarantee of abortion in a national constitution has only one historical precedent, in 1974 in the former Yugoslavia, although this guarantee disappeared with the end of that country. EFE


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