France moves closer to enshrining abortion as constitutional right

The measure must be approved by a three-fifths majority in the joint session

France abortion rights French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal delivers a speech during a special congress gathering both the upper and lower houses of the French parliament (National Assembly and Senate) to vote to enshrine the right to abortion in the French constitution, at the Versailles Palace near Paris, France | Reuters

France inches closer to making abortion a constitutional right, as lawmakers gather for a joint session of parliament at the Palace of Versailles to vote on Monday. 

President Emmanuel Macron pledged this measure in response to a legal setback for abortion rights in the United States. 

Macron's government wants to amend Article 34 of the constitution to specify that the law determines the conditions by which the freedom of women to have recourse to an abortion, is guaranteed.

The proposal to amend the constitution was approved by the lower house of the parliament in January. The Senate adopted the bill on Wednesday, clearing a key hurdle for legislation promised by Macron's government, intended to make a woman's right to have an abortion irreversible.

The measure must be approved by a three-fifths majority in the joint session.

Meanwhile, none of France's major political parties represented in parliament has questioned the right to abortion. 

The government argued in its introduction to the bill that the right to abortion is threatened in the United States, where the Supreme Court in 2022 overturned a 50-year-old ruling that used to guarantee it.

We increased the level of protection for this fundamental right, said Anne-Ccile Mailfert of the Women's Foundation. She added: It's a guarantee for women today and in the future to have the right to abort in France.


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