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Abortion to become constitutional right in France today

todayMarch 8, 2024 1

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron will on Friday oversee abortion becoming a constitutional right at a special ceremony in Paris to mark the world’s first.

The procedure had been legal in France since 1975, but Macron last year pledged to better protect it after the US Supreme Court in 2022 overturned the half-century-old right to the procedure, allowing individual states to ban or curtail it.

In a historic vote, a rare congress of both houses of parliament on Monday gave a green light towards making terminating a pregnancy a “guaranteed freedom” in the basic text, sparking celebration among feminists.

The ceremony comes on International Women’s Day, a year to the day the president promised to constitutionalise the right. The move is backed by most of the French public, even if some conservatives remain against it.

The French government has said that it is now going to try to ensure better safeguards under EU law. “France must now take this fight to the 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.

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.”

AFP

Written by: Editorial Team

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