Emmanuel Macron undertakes to include abortion in the Constitution

Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday his desire to include in the Constitution the “freedom” to have recourse to abortion as part of his future institutional reform, during a national tribute to feminist lawyer Gisèle Halimi on the occasion of International Women’s Day. “The progress resulting from the parliamentary debates (…) will, I hope, make it possible to include this freedom in our fundamental text within the framework of the bill amending our Constitution which will be prepared in the coming months”, declared the leader of the State at the Palais de Justice in Paris.

This bill will relate to a vast reform of the institutions, wanted by the Head of State, which could go from a redistricting of the regions to a redefinition of the electoral mandates, according to the presidential entourage. Parliament is currently examining a proposal for a specific constitutional law on voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG), presented by parliamentarians, which must therefore be approved in identical terms by the National Assembly and the Senate and then be submitted to a referendum.

By opting for a government bill, Emmanuel Macron paved the way for a “constitutionalization” of abortion by a vote of the Parliament meeting in Congress, with a majority of 3/5ths. This comes at a time when the right to abortion is sometimes questioned in the world, especially in the United States.

“Women’s Freedom”

The Senate, with a majority on the right, voted in favor of the inclusion in the Constitution of the “freedom of women” to resort to abortion, a formulation which abandons the notion of “right” favored by the left, and that the Head of State therefore takes over. This new path is not without risk either because of the difficulties in having vast institutional reforms passed. “If he wants to ensure that abortion is never included in the Constitution, let him continue to do so,” warned the head of the deputies La France insoumise, Mathilde Panot.

“Recall that in 2008, the right controlling the Senate and National Assembly had only passed a broad revision” of the Constitution “by one vote… nothing is done”, notes public law specialist Benjamin Morel . The Women’s Foundation nevertheless hailed “a victory for all women in France”, believing that constitutionalization “secures this right for years to come”.

Emmanuel Macron, accompanied by his wife Brigitte, also wanted to bring Gisèle Halimi into history, an emblematic activist of many fights in the second half of the 20th century, from decolonization to the right to abortion, beyond the controversies. “She carried the cause of Algerian independence. She was the prosecutor of what the French authorities of the time did, in the way they did it”, he noted, in the presence of his predecessor François Hollande and the highest judicial authorities of the country, recalling Gisèle Halimi’s fight against torture in Algeria.

“If today the Algerian war has left the courtrooms, it must now take its full place in our memory here in France and also in Algeria”, continued the Head of State, without however commenting on a possible entry into the Pantheon of the activist. Before the president, Jean-Yves Halimi also paid a vibrant tribute to his mother. “You join in the Pantheon of our national story the two Simones, de Beauvoir and Veil, your sisters in the fight and your personal friends,” said his eldest son. Another of his sons, journalist Serge Halimi, boycotted the tribute, deploring that he intervened in full mobilization against an “extremely unfair” pension reform, which his mother allegedly fought against.

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