The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, declared last week that his government has made plans to submit a draft law that would introduce abortion rights into the French constitution, making them irreversible without amending the constitution again.
In a social media post, Macron stated “Based on the work of parliamentarians and associations, the draft constitutional law will be sent to the Council of State this week and presented to the Council of Ministers by the end of the year.”
This push to make abortion a constitutional right comes as a follow-up to the pledge Macron made on March 8th, International Women’s Day, this year. Macron, in reference to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year, stated that France's initiative should be viewed as a "universal message of solidarity towards the women whose abortion rights have been violated." A 1975 law decriminalised abortion in France, but there is currently nothing in the French constitution that would indicate a guaranteed right to an abortion.
According to a recent opinion poll, more than 80% of respondents support the French measure, indicating that it is widely supported by the public.
Making an amendment to the constitution is not an easy process and under most circumstances would involve either a referendum or approval by at least three-fifths of both houses of parliament, however, the government devised a quick fix to evade the necessity of holding a referendum on the matter. Macron can call a special congress of both houses because the government, rather than lawmakers, presented its own bill to avoid a referendum. These congresses take place at Versailles Palace.
Government figures, reported by France24, 234,000 abortions were carried out in France last year.
Although abortion is currently legal in France, accepting the act into the constitution would almost completely normalise it, when in reality abortion should be made unthinkable.
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