In a historic vote, France enshrines the right to abortion in its constitution

France became the first country in the world to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution on Monday, the 4th of March, a move welcomed by women’s rights groups and strongly criticised by anti-abortion groups, with MPs and senators backing the move by 780 votes to 72 in a special joint vote of both houses of parliament at the Palace of Versailles, reports Reuters.
Abortion rights advocates gathered in central Paris cheered and applauded as the Eiffel Tower glowed in the background and the message “MyBodyMyChoice” appeared on a giant screen when the vote was announced.

“We are sending a message to all women:

your body belongs to you and no one can decide for you,” Prime Minister Gabriel Attal told lawmakers before the vote.
Since 1974, women in France have had the right to have legal abortions, which was strongly criticised by many at the time.
Monday’s vote enshrines in Article 34 of the French Constitution that “the law determines the conditions under which a woman is guaranteed the freedom to have an abortion”.
France’s decision to become the first country to explicitly guarantee this right in its fundamental law was prompted by activists after the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling in 2022, which recognised women’s constitutional right to abortion.
Polls indicate that around 80% of the French population supports the legality of abortion.

The decision to include the right to abortion in the French constitution faced criticism,

in particular from far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who accused President Macron of using it for political gain.
Le Pen confirmed her party’s support but downplayed the historic significance of the vote, arguing that the right to abortion has never been under threat in France.
Pascale Moriniere, President of the Association of Catholic Families, called the move a defeat, expressing concern for women and unborn children. She argued that France had unnecessarily imported the US debate on the issue, which had been triggered by the panic created by feminist movements.
Also read: Swiss vote in favour of the 13th month pension
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