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News > France

France Moves Towards Inclusion of Abortion in Constitution

  • The French National Assembly approved Thursday a text to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution. Nov. 24, 2022.

    The French National Assembly approved Thursday a text to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution. Nov. 24, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@SabrinaRoubache

Published 24 November 2022

A text proposing the inclusion of the right to abortion in the Constitution was approved this Thursday by the National Assembly with 337 votes in favor and 32 against.

The entry into force of the proposed text passed by the lower house of the bicameral French Parliament requires approval by the upper house (the Senate), and by the French people in a referendum. 

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This approval is intended to guarantee adequate and equal access to the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy by law, thus amending the 1958 Constitution. 

The proposal comes from the radical left-wing party La France Insoumise (LFI). Deputy Mathilde Panot, the rapporteur of the text, welcomed the approval by the Lower House. To speed up the process, the Deputy asked the government to present its own bill, which would avoid a referendum.

"The question of access to abortion, the question of its protection, is not a whim, it is not a political gain, it is not a question of a political group (...) This text becomes the document that must be able to triumph," said Aurore Bergé, leader of the socioliberal political party Renaissance, led by President Emmanuel Macron after the vote.

Victory! The text that I introduced to constitutionalize the right to an abortion was adopted by a large majority. Today, France is speaking to the world. Next step: a bill @Elisabeth_Borne!

In France, voluntary termination of pregnancy has been depenalized since the adoption of the Veil Law, passed in 1975. It is currently legal at the woman's request in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

However, since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last June, there have been efforts in the country to include abortion rights in the Constitution.

A bill for the protection of abortion from the Renaissance party is expected to be examined in the French legislature on Monday next week.

There is still a long way to go for abortion rights to be included in the Constitution. So far, motions to this effect have been rejected by the Senate in France.

The last rejection of such a proposal by right-wing senators came last October. On that occasion, Vogel's party's bill to protect abortion rights in the Constitution received 139 votes in favor. 

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