France’s Macron To Seal Abortion Becoming Constitutional Right

At a special ceremony in Paris on Friday, France’s President Emmanuel Macron will preside over the world’s first constitutional right to abortion.

The treatment had been allowed in France since 1975, but Macron promised last year to improve its protection after the US Supreme Court abolished the half-century-old right to the procedure in 2022, leaving individual states to ban or restrict it.

In a historic decision on Monday, a rare congress of both houses of parliament approved declaring abortion a “guaranteed freedom” in the basic text, prompting celebration among feminists.

The ceremony takes place on International Women’s Day, exactly one year after the president committed to constitutionalize the right.

The majority of the French people supports the initiative, despite opposition from some conservatives.

The French government has stated that it will now seek to provide better safeguards under EU law.

“France must now take this fight to European level,” said its spokeswoman Prisca Thevenot on Wednesday.

“In 2022, the president said he wanted to add the right to abortion in the European Union’s charter of fundamental rights,” she added.

No country until now had so far as clearly safeguarded the right to a pregnancy termination in its basic text, according to Leah Hoctor, of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Some countries allude to the right, while others explicitly mention abortion, but only in certain circumstances.

‘Example for progressives’

Neil Datta, of the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, said the French move sent a strong signal.

It “could give momentum to improving abortion legislation, just as the reversal of Roe v. Wade in the United States gave some to anti-abortion groups worldwide,” he said.

France “could serve as an example for progressives in all countries of Europe and beyond to define a course,” he said.

Even without amending the constitution, “they could… improve their legislation.”

National Assembly speaker Yael Braun-Pivet — the first woman in the post — was the one to read out the result of Monday’s historic vote, with 780 lawmakers in favour and 72 voting against.

More than 20 of her fellow women parliament speakers from around the world were also in Paris on Thursday.

Macron on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday evening posted a group picture of himself, Braun-Pivet and the visiting lawmakers.

“You are an example for many women, welcome to Paris,” he wrote.

“This March 8, together we will convey a universal message: the freedom of women to resort to abortion. See you tomorrow.”

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