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France Becomes First Nation to Make Abortion a Constitutional Right

France has become the first country in the world to make the right to abortion explicitly part of its constitution. 

The Parliamentarians put forward a vote to revise the country’s 1958 constitution in order to make abortion a “guaranteed freedom”

The vote saw an overwhelming majority supporting the right to abortion, with 780 in favour and 72 against. 

President Emmanual Macron described the moment as one that he hoped had sent a “universal message”. 

However, there has been strong bakclash from anti-abortion groups, the Vatican, and French Catholic Bishops. 

The Vatican has put out a statement, in which they say that “There can be no ‘right’ to take a human life”, explicity stating their discontent with this move by the French Parliament. This statement echoes concerns that have already been raised by French Catholic Bishops. 

The right to abortion in France, however, is not a new one. Abortion has been legal in France since 1975. However, polls demonstrate that 85% of the public supported an amendment to the constitution that protected the right to ending a pregnancy. 

This desire to enshrine the right to abortion likely comes as countries around the world, most notably the US, have removed the right to abortion in all states. Laura Slimani, a member of the Fondation des Femmes echoes this sentiment, saying that “The right has retreated in the United States. And so nothing authorised us to think that France was exempt from this risk.”  

Though other countries provide reproductive rights as part of their constitution, France is the first country that will explicitly guarantee an abortion. 

The President has received some level of backlash, with accusations that he is amending the constitutions for electoral ends. While critics are not against the revision of the constitution, they claim that the amendment was unnecessary insofar as it makes any practical change. Instead, they claim, this is better viewed as a way for Macron to boost his own left-wing credentials. 

Backlash and criticism aside, however, there has been celebration on the national level. The Eiffel tower was lit up with the message: “My Body My Choice”, a national slogan for those fighting for the right to abortion. 

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal encapsulated the sentiment and reasoning behind the amendment well: “We’re sending a message to all women: your body belongs to you and no one can decide for you.” 


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