Paris: France’s parliament has backed a proposal to enshrine abortion rights in the country’s constitution, in a move devised as a direct response to the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year.
But the bill, passed by the National Assembly, the lower and more powerful house, will have to go through a complicated legislative process, and possibly face opposition in the Senate, before the constitution can be amended, leaving plenty of time and opportunity for lawmakers or voters to pass it. ultimately reject.
The vote is a clear message and a symbolic milestone at a time when abortion rights are increasingly under attack in France’s European neighbours. In Italy, the minister of family affairs in a new hard-right government has spoken out against abortion; in Spain, many doctors deny the procedures; and last year, Poland introduced an almost total ban on abortion.
“No one can predict the future,” Mathilde Panot, the head of the far-left France Unbowed party, which supported the bill, told the National Assembly. are attacked elsewhere”.
The push to make abortion a constitutional right was prompted by the rollback of abortion rights in the United States in June, which sent shockwaves through European countries and was seen as a red flag by many in France.
“History is full of examples of fundamental freedoms that were taken for granted and yet were swept away with the stroke of a pen by events, crises or tidal waves,” said Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti. “And this is even more true when it comes to women’s rights.”
France decriminalized abortion in 1975, two years after Roe v. Wade, under a groundbreaking law championed by Simone Veil. While no political party questions this legalization today, debates rage on whether or not to change the constitution.