France Enshrines Abortion Rights in Constitution

06.04.24 03:23 PM

Voices for choice rise,
A right enshrined in law's light,
Freedom's echo strong.

In a groundbreaking decision, France has become the first country to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution, ensuring women have a guaranteed freedom to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy. This landmark amendment was approved by a three-fifths majority of the 925 members of the National Assembly and Senate during an extraordinary session at the Palace of Versailles.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, addressing Congress Hall, stated, "We owe a moral debt to the women who had to suffer through illegal abortions in the past." The constitutional change was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court's 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which had legalized abortion in the United States since 1973. The ruling led several American states to impose restrictions or outright bans on the procedure, sparking concerns worldwide about the vulnerability of abortion rights.

The public in France overwhelmingly supported this amendment, which saw the Eiffel Tower lit with the words "my body my choice" following the vote. The move was seen as a preemptive measure to safeguard against any future attempts to roll back these rights. France first legalized abortion in 1975, and this constitutional change further cements those protections.

The amendment faced initial resistance in the upper house but ultimately passed with overwhelming support, with the final vote tally at 493-30 in the National Assembly. President Emmanuel Macron had pledged last year to enshrine abortion rights in the constitution, signaling his strong support for reproductive rights and countering the rise of far-right movements in France and Europe.

Critics, however, argue that the amendment is more of a political maneuver by Macron to gain favor with left-leaning voters ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections. Nevertheless, supporters, including feminists and various MPs, see this as a vital step in protecting women's rights in France.

The constitutional change will be finalized in a ceremony coinciding with International Women's Day, marking a historic moment for women's rights in France.

Referenced Articles: France becomes first nation to make abortion a constitutional right - UPI France enshrines abortion rights in constitution - DW France enshrines abortion rights in constitution - The Straits Times