France now says abortion is a basic right for everyone, making it the first country in the world to do so

France now says abortion is a basic right for everyone, making it the first country in the world to do so

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France Adds Right to Abortion to Constitution: Historic Vote Sees Overwhelming Support

MPs and senators strongly supported the move, with 780 votes in favor and 72 votes against, in a special vote where both houses of parliament participated.

On Monday, France made history by adding the right to abortion to its constitution. Women’s rights groups celebrated this as a significant step forward, while anti-abortion groups strongly opposed it. MPs and senators overwhelmingly supported the move, with 780 votes for and 72 against, in a special joint vote of both houses of parliament at Versailles Palace near Paris.

In central Paris, abortion rights activists celebrated as the Eiffel Tower sparkled in the background, displaying the message “MyBodyMyChoice” on a giant screen when the vote result was announced.

France has broader acceptance of abortion rights compared to the United States and many other countries, with polls indicating around 80% of French people supporting its legality. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal told lawmakers before the vote, “We’re telling all women: your body is yours, and no one else can decide for you.”

Since 1974, French women have been legally allowed to have abortions, even though many people criticized this law back then. However, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, which protected women’s right to abortion, activists in France pushed for their country to be the first to explicitly protect this right in its basic law. Laura Slimani, from the Fondation des Femmes rights group, expressed concern, saying, “The right to abortion is being restricted in the United States. This made us worry that France might face similar risks.”

Slimani, both a feminist activist and a woman, shared her emotional reaction to the situation. On Monday, a vote was held to include in Article 34 of the French constitution that “the law sets the conditions for women to have the guaranteed freedom to have an abortion.”

“The head of France’s lower house of parliament, Yael Braun-Pivet, from President Emmanuel Macrons centrist party, stated that France is leading the way. However, some criticized the decision.

Marine Le Pen, a far-right leader, accused Macron of using the issue for political gain, noting the widespread support for abortion rights in France. Despite this, she stated that her party would vote to include it in the Constitution without opposition. Le Pen also downplayed the significance of the move, arguing that the right to abortion is not under threat in France. Pascale Moriniere, president of the Association of Catholic Families, viewed the decision as a setback for anti-abortion activists.”

“It’s a loss for women,” she said, “and for all the kids who can’t see the light of day.” Moriniere said adding abortion rights to the constitution wasn’t necessary.

“We brought in a debate that isn’t French, as the United States first removed it from law with Roe v. Wade,” she said. “Feminist movements panicked and wanted to inscribe it into the constitution.”

 

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