Parliament votes to include abortion rights in France’s constitution

Status: 11/25/2022 01:35 a.m

The French National Assembly has voted by a large majority to enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. MPs spoke of a “historic victory for women”.

A large majority in France’s National Assembly has voted in favor of including the right to abortion in the country’s constitution. 337 MPs voted for and 32 against a corresponding resolution. This provides for the constitution to be supplemented with the sentence: “The law guarantees (…) equal access to the right to voluntary abortion”.

The vote was a first step in a long process with an uncertain outcome. The project must first be approved in the National Assembly and in the second chamber of parliament, the Senate. It remains to be seen whether the Senate will agree. The majority of those entitled to vote would then have to agree in a nationwide referendum for the constitution to actually be changed.

Nevertheless, MPs rated the vote of the National Assembly as an important step. This was a “historic victory for women in France and around the world,” said left-wing populist parliamentary group leader Mathilde Panot. Sacha Houlié, who belongs to President Emmanuel Macron’s political camp, also spoke of a “big step” and emphasized at the same time with a view to the further hurdles: “But it’s only a first step.”

While supporters celebrated the National Assembly vote, it is only a first step towards constitutional amendment.

Image: AFP

Government supports projects

Abortion was legalized in France in 1975. However, the constitution does not mention the intervention. The authors of the proposal stated that the project aims to protect and guarantee the fundamental right to voluntary abortion and contraception.

Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti said the government supported the initiative. He referred to the US Supreme Court’s decision in June, which overturned the constitutional right to abortion and left the decision to individual states.

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