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French Senate votes to enshrine abortion in constitution

France's Senate chamber Associated Press/Photo by Francois Mori

French Senate votes to enshrine abortion in constitution

The country’s upper chamber passed the measure with a 267-50 vote on Wednesday, priming France to be the first European country to guarantee a constitutional right to abortion. The French National Assembly also approved the amendment with a landslide 493-30 vote late last month. French President Emmanuel Macron plans to convene the entire parliamentary body on Monday for the final three-fifths vote required to approve a constitutional amendment. The bill’s introduction specifically cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade as a reason to guarantee abortion under the French constitution.

Would the amendment legalize any abortion or a specific type? The proposal’s verbiage would guarantee legal access to abortion but establishes that “the law determines the conditions” under which the procedure can take place. Current French law only protects babies from being aborted after 14 weeks of gestation. Abortions after 14 weeks are permitted if the woman's health is at risk or the baby develops severe abnormalities. The French pro-life group Alliance VITA argues that the amendment is unnecessary and accuses Macron’s government of “indecently exploiting the emotional issue of abortion” for political gain.

Dig deeper: Read Lauren Canterberry’s report in The Sift on the amendment’s passage in the National Assembly.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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