The French National Assembly on Tuesday approved the inclusion in the Constitution of “guaranteed freedom” for women to have an abortion, a change promoted by the government of Emmanuel Macron that will have to be debated later in the Senate, which has a conservative majority.
The constitutional amendment, which, if it becomes a reality, will make the French Magna Carta the only one in force in the world that guarantees access to voluntary termination of pregnancy, was approved by 493 votes to 30.
“Tonight the National Assembly and the Government did not miss their historical date,” celebrated the French Minister of Justice, Éric Dupond-Moretti, after the vote.
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Specifically, the French deputies confirmed that it would be added to Article 34 with the following formula: “The law determines the conditions under which the guaranteed freedom of women to resort to voluntary termination of pregnancy is used.”
During the debate in the chamber, most of the political parties emphasized that currently the right to abortion is not questioned in France, but there is a clear failure in other countries, such as the United States, Poland, and Hungary.
Given the possibility of a similar drift in France, the presence in the Constitution of this “guaranteed freedom” will protect women in this country from the abolition of the right to abortion through an ordinary law promoted by a potentially reactionary majority.
“This vote goes beyond political differences, showing that the fight for women’s rights knows no partisan boundaries,” he said in statements to the Macronist deputy for the Latin American and Caribbean constituency, Éléonore Caroit.
In addition to the support of macrons simple majority groups, left-wing formations, such as socialists, insists, and ecologists, have positioned themselves in favor of the project.
On the right, Republican conservatives noted many reservations, as they should set time limits to protect life or protect medical conscientious objection, but their supporters are free to vote in favor.
It also has the right-wing lawmakers of Marine Le Pen, who criticized this initiative of the government for considering it unnecessary while ignoring current problems such as the discontent of farmers.
After much approval by representatives, the bill will continue its processing in the Senate, which should adopt the same version of the text in February.
There, the outlook is somewhat uncertain, even though the government has opted for the concept of “guaranteed freedom” instead of the “right” to abortion preferred by the left and feminist organizations, in an attempt to ensure consensus between the chambers.
If the Senate also gives the green light, lawmakers in both chambers will have to meet at the Congress of Versailles and adopt it in at least three-fifths.
There is only one historical precedent for the inclusion of abortion in a Magna Carta: the 1974 Constitution of the former Yugoslavia.
In France, the right to abortion has existed since 1975, thanks to the law promoted by Simone Veila, a significant political figure whose legacy is now remembered in the House by many lawmakers.