Abortion becomes a constitutional right in France

France is now the first nation in the world whose constitution expressly guarantees the right to an abortion. The country’s 1958 constitution was to be amended by a vote of parliamentarians, securing women’s “guaranteed freedom” to abort. Standing ovations broke out in the Versailles parliament upon the announcement of the resounding 780-72 vote. The action was hailed as “French pride” and delivered a “universal message” by President Emmanuel Macron. Nonetheless, the Vatican and anti-abortion organizations have sharply criticized the move. Although abortion is legal in France as of 1975, surveys indicate that about 85% of respondents are in favor of changing the constitution to safeguard the right to terminate a pregnancy.

 

And although the constitutions of a number of other nations protect reproductive rights, France is the first to declare outright that an abortion will always be permitted. It becomes the first since 2008 and the 25th amendment to the current French Constitution. “My Body My Choice” was displayed on the Eiffel Tower in Paris as a symbol of happiness after the vote. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal warned parliament that the right to an abortion was still “in danger” and “at the mercy of decision makers” before to the vote. “We’re sending a message to all women: your body belongs to you and no one can decide for you,” he stated.

 

Even if right-wing opposition in parliament did not materialize, President Macron has been charged with abusing the constitution for political purposes. Critics claim the modification is needless rather than necessarily incorrect, and they charge the president of attempting to capitalize on the issue to strengthen his left-leaning reputation. The goal of each of the nine updates to the statute since 1975 has been to increase access. The French Constitutional Council, which determines whether laws are constitutional, has never expressed doubt. In a 2001 decision, the council justified abortion by citing the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man, which is nominally a part of the constitution, as the foundation for the concept of liberty.

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